allée couverte

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Class of Neolithic chambered tomb found in central and northern France. It comprises long rectangular chambers with little or no evidence of differentiation within them, although some have antechambers at the entrance and a small inaccessible cell beyond the back wall of the main chamber. This end‐cell sometimes has pairs of raised lumps carved on to the faces of the wall stones that are interpreted as female breasts. Low stone and earth mounds cover the chambers, and in some cases there are kerbs around the outer edge of the mound. They date to the 3rd millennium bc and are especially common in Brittany and the Paris basin (Seine–Oise–Marne Culture). Where excavated, the chambers are found to contain the remains of several hundred individuals.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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