Emerald Isle

Wedge Tombs

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Wedge Tombs of Ireland

As the Neolithic age ended and the Bronze age began, the types of tombs and megalithic structures the people of Ireland were building also changed. Whether this change was due to new arrivals adopting  older traditions, existing cultures shifting their beliefs, or for some other reason isn't known to us today. They began to build smaller wedge tombs, which are the most common kind of megalithic tomb in Ireland, and are found nowhere else in the world.

Wedge tombs are mostly scattered across the west and northwest of the country, which might hint at a culture being pushed back by Bronze age invaders thundering across the plains in great chariots, the ancestors of today's Irish people. It might also track the spread of these newcomers across Ireland, since they seem to have originally landed in the southwest.

They represented the last of the communal burial sites from olden days - during the later Bronze age single cist and cairn tombs were more usual. Wonderful decorative pieces of "bell beaker" pottery were often buried in wedge tombs alongside the dead.

They were also built to be sealed up and re-opened for further burials as needed, and were wider at the front than the back. They are almost all facing the setting sun, and would have been covered by cairns of loose stones when they were originally constructed, leaving only the entryway exposed.

Wedge Tombs of Ireland

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