Cists are often met with on the open moors of Britain, and a brief account of them may therefore be of interest.
First, a few words about terminology. Our predecessors used also the words ‘Kist’ and ‘Kist-vaen’, and indeed the latter word still survives in some of our remoter western districts. ‘Kist-vaen’ is however an impossible word ; it was invented by antiquaries to whom all prehistoric monuments were ‘Celtic’, requiring therefore a Celtic name. Since the original name was unknown, new ones had to be invented. In the days when the words of Authority were heard with undue respect and awkward questions were seldom put, those spurious terms obtained wide currency. The word ‘cist’ has long been used by Scottish archaeologists, and it is the one adopted by the British Ordnance Survey.
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