A cist (// or //; also kist //; from Greek: κίστη or Germanic Kiste) is a small stone-built coffin-like box or ossuary used to hold the bodies of the dead. Examples can be found across Europe and in the Middle East. A cist may have been associated with other monuments, perhaps under a cairn or long barrow. It would not be uncommon to find several cists close together within the same cairn or barrow. Often ornaments have been found within an excavated cist, indicating the wealth or prominence of the interred individual.
In the Welsh language (whose origins, like Cornish, are from the ancient British or Brythonic language line), cist is also used for such ancient graves, but in modern use, can also mean a chest, a coffer, a box, or even the boot / trunk of a car.
- Houghton Mifflin (2000). The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed ed.). Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin. p. 339. ISBN 978-0-395-82517-4.
- Merriam-Webster Unabridged (MWU). (Online subscription-based reference service of Merriam-Webster, based on Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002.) Headword cist. Accessed 2007-12-11.
- A Cist Burial in Jordan
- Burials in Ancient Palestine: From the Stone Age to Abraham
- The Early Minoan Period: The Tombs
- Excavation of Cist in Bologna, Italy