Round barrow

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Round barrows are one of the most common types of archaeological monuments. Although concentrated in Europe they are found in many parts of the world because of their simple construction and universal purpose.

At their simplest, round barrow are hemispherical mounds of earth and/or stone raised over a burial placed in the middle. Beyond this there are numerous variations which may employ surrounding ditches, stone kerb or flat berms between ditch and mound. Construction methods range from a single creation process of heaped material to a complex depositional sequence involving alternating layers of stone, soil and turf with timbers or wattle used to help hold the structure together.

The central burial may be placed a stone chamber or cist or in a cut grave. Both intact inhumations and cremations placed in vessels can be found.

Many round barrows attract surrounding satellite burials or later ones inserted into the mound itself. In some cases these occur hundreds or even thousands of years after the original barrow was built and were placed by entirely different cultures.

In the British Isles, round barrows generally date to the Bronze Age although Neolithic examples are also known. Later round barrows were also sometimes used by Roman, Viking and Saxon societies. Examples include Rillaton barrow and Round Loaf. Where several contemporary round barrows are grouped together, the area is referred to as a barrow cemetery.

Numerous subtypes include the bell barrow, bowl barrow, saucer......
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