burial mound

a mound built over a grave or graves. Cf. barrow2 (def. 1).
[1850-55]

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 artificial hill of earth and stones built over the remains of the dead. In England the equivalent term is barrow; (barrow) in Scotland, cairn; and in Europe and elsewhere, tumulus.

      In western Europe and the British Isles, burial cairns and barrows date primarily from the Neolithic Period and Early Bronze Age (4000 BC–AD 600). The burial chambers in Britain, unlike those of similar structures in the Mediterranean region, were seldom excavated in the soil beneath the barrow but were enclosed within the structure itself. (See barrow.)

      Burial mounds were a peculiarly prominent feature of the protohistoric period in Japan (3rd–6th century AD), which is known as the Tumulus period. The mounds, some of which are spectacularly large and impressive, consist of earthen keyhole-shaped mounds surrounded by moats. They were used to bury royalty and prominent members of the aristocracy. One of the largest, the burial site of the 4th-century emperor Nintoku, on the outskirts of the city of Sakai, near Osaka, measures 1,594 feet (486 m) in length and is 115 feet (35 m) high.

      Burial mounds were characteristic of the Indian cultures of east-central North America (Native American) from about 1000 BC to AD 700. The most numerous and grandly conceived ones, found in the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys, were large conical or elliptical mounds surrounded by extensive earthworks. Their builders were once thought to be a distinctive group of peoples (the so-called Mound Builders) that were more culturally advanced than historic Indian tribes, but the mounds are now assigned to the Hopewell and Adena cultures. Along the upper Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, some of the later Indian mounds are in the shape of animals and other forms. (See effigy mound.)

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • burial mound — noun (archeology) a heap of earth placed over prehistoric tombs • Syn: ↑grave mound, ↑barrow, ↑tumulus • Topics: ↑archeology, ↑archaeology • Hypernyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • burial mound — noun A mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Syn: tumulus, barrow, kurgan, cairn …   Wiktionary

  • burial mound — n. tumulus, mound raised over a grave; (Archeology) pile of earth built over ancient tombs …   English contemporary dictionary

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  • burial mound — /ˈbɛriəl maʊnd/ (say bereeuhl mownd) noun → barrow2 …   Australian English dictionary

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