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A cromlech (sometimes also spelled "cromleh" or "cromlêh") is a megalithic construction made of large stone blocks. The word applies to two different megalithic forms in English,[1][2] the first being an altar-tomb (frequently called a "dolmen"), as William Borlase first denoted in 1769.[3] A good example is at Carn Llechart.[4] The second meaning of the name "cromlech" in English refers to large stone circles such as the ones found among the Carnac stones in Brittany, France.[5][6]

Unlike in English, the word "cromlech" in many other languages (Armenian, French, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, and Spanish, e.g.) exclusively denotes a megalithic stone circle, whereas the word "dolmen" only is used to refer the type of megalithic altar tomb sometimes indicated by the English "cromlech". Also, more recently in English, scholars such as Aubrey Burl use "cromlech" as a synonym for "megalithic stone circle."[7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ William Borlase (1769). Antiquities, Historical and Monumental, of the County of Cornwall. S. Baker and G. Leigh. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  4. ^ Cope, Julian (1998). The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain : Including a Gazetteer to Over 300 Prehistoric Sites. Thorsons Pub. p. 281. ISBN 978-0-7225-3599-8.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Aubrey Burl: A Guide to the Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany. Yale University Press, New Haven 2006, ISBN 0-300-11406-0.

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