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Spatial Structures and Symbolic Systems in Irish and British Passage Tombs: the Organization of Architectural Elements, Parietal Carved Signs and Funerary Deposits

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 September 2010

Guillaume Robin
Dipartimento di Scienze umanistiche e dell'antichità, Università degli Studi di Sassari, Piazza Conte di Moriana, 8, 07100 Sassari, Italy Email:


Passage tombs are the most elaborate monuments that were built during the Irish and British Neolithic, not only because of their complex monumental architecture but also because they are the only type of tomb that has carvings and such a diversity of funerary objects. This article focuses on the spatial organization of these three components of passage tombs and identifies several recurrent structures that are classified into three groups. From these spatial structures, an abstract elementary model is proposed that helps to understand the conceptual principles and the symbolic significations that guided the construction, decoration and use of the monuments.

Research Article
Copyright © The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research 2010

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