Wedge-shaped gallery grave

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Glantane East Wedge Tomb, County Cork, Ireland

A wedge-shaped gallery grave or wedge tomb is a type of Irish chamber tomb. They are so named because the burial chamber itself narrows at one end (usually decreasing both in height and width from west to east), producing a wedge shape in elevation. An antechamber is separated from the burial area by a simple jamb or sill, and the doorway generally faces west.[1]

A distinguishing characteristic of wedge tombs is the double-walling of the gallery. They were often covered by cairns, which could be round, oval or D-shaped, often with a kerb to revet it. More are low sized, usually about 1.5 metres high, and are generally found on mountainsides, about three-quarters the way up.

Wedge tombs were built between the Irish late Neolithic and middle Bronze Ages (about 2500 to 2000BC). Today, between 500 and 550 known wedge tombs survive[2] in Ireland, and are found predominantly in the west and north west of the island.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ BBC History (2004). "Irish Neolithic Tombs". Retrieved 2006-09-06. 
  2. ^ "A Brief Guide To Irish Archaeological Sites". Retrieved 2006-08-26. 

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