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A cromlech
Chambered cairn (cromlech) Dyffryn Ardudwy, Gwynedd, Wales

Cromlech is a Brythonic word (Breton/Welsh) used to describe prehistoric megalithic structures, where crom means "bent" and llech means "flagstone". The term is now virtually obsolete in archæology, but remains in use as a colloquial term for two different types of megalithic monument.

In English it usually refers to dolmens, the remains of prehistoric stone chamber tombs. However, it is widely used in French to describe stone circles. Confusingly, some English-speaking archæologists, such as Aubrey Burl, use this second meaning for cromlech in English too.

In addition, the term is occasionally used to describe more complex examples of megalithic architecture, such as the Almendres Cromlech in Portugal.

See also


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