Index of Prehistoric Sites in Europe

sorted by type of site

Click here for Prehistoric Archaeology
Books and Reviews

Recommended Books

Click here to visit

Millions more books to choose from at

For which category of prehistoric site would you like links?

Ancient Mine or Quarry Where rock was quarried for use as tools, etc.
Ancient Trackway A pre-Roman road or track
Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork Included in this category are remains of habitated areas of all sorts, including cattle pens and other assorted earthworks. There is a separate listing for crannogs.
Artificial Mound A man-made mound which is not a burial chamber
Barrow Cemetery A collection of round barrows, long barrows etc. Usually a sacred area used over thousands of years for burials.
Broch An Iron Age stone structure, also known as a roundhouse. Built throughout Scotland, concentrated near the coasts, as a defence against raiding parties. The walls are double skinned, providing small rooms and storage areas between the inner and outer walls. Steps were also built in the gap between the walls.
Burial Chamber (Dolmen) A megalithic chambered tomb, with a large flat stone laid on upright ones. Cromlech is an obsolete term meaning the same thing.
Cairn (Clava etc.) A mound of stones, often but not always covering a burial site. See the separate category for round cairn. This category includes long cairns and other miscellaneous cairns.
Cave or Rock Shelter A cave with evidence of inhabitation by Palaeolithic (Old Stone Age) Man
Chambered Cairn
Chambered Tomb Megalithic tomb usually for multiple burials. Varieties include passage graves, gallery graves, portal dolmens.
Court Tomb Irish variant of Burial Chamber
Crannog Artificial lakeside platform chosen as a settlement site.
Cup and Ring marks / Rock Art Markings carved into rocks and stone, consisting of a depression (cup) surrounded by concentric circles (rings). Thought to date from the neolithic. Other less common motifs include spirals and rosettes. This category also includes other, more complex rock art
Cursus An avenue formed by straight stretches of parallel earthen banks and ditches. The longest, in Dorset, extends nearly 10 km. Found only in Britain.
Henge Roughly circular prehistoric earthwork consisting of a non-defensive ditch and bank with a level plateau in the centre. A henge does not have to contain a stone circle but many do - (see the separate listing)
Hill Figure A chalk-cut figure, unique to the British Isles. Not necessarily prehistoric, but of interest nonetheless.
Hillfort Hilltop enclosure usually thought to be defensive. Most hillforts date from the Iron Age, although some are earlier.
Holed Stone A megalith with a hole in it. These stones are usually associated with legends of magical cures that people who pass through them will benefit from.
Long Barrow Elongated roughly rectangular structure that may contain many burial chambers. Long barrows appear to have been in constant use with burials being added over a period of centuries, the old bones being moved around to accommodate the new interment. It is thought that bones may even have been removed for ritual use, particularly the skulls and leg bones. See also the separate listing for chambered tomb.
Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue Two or more rows of stones arranged in a complex. An avenue is two rows side by side.
Not Known (by me) Please let me know what sort of site this is!
Passage Grave Type of chambered tomb where a passage connects with one or more stone chambers in the centre of a mound.
Ring Cairn Stone Burial Mound similar to Round Cairn, but with a hole in the centre. See also Clava Cairn.
Round Barrow(s) Round barrows are much more common than long barrows. Typically contain fewer burials than long barrows, maybe a single burial, or those of two or three individuals. There are many types of round barrow but a typical example would be a roughly hemispherical mound formed by piling the earth up at the centre of a circular ditch. Another type of round barrow is the pond barrow formed by digging the earth out from the
Round Cairn Stone Burial Mound similar to Round Barrow, but usually found in areas with thin top soil - the mound is formed by piling boulders into a hemispherical structure.
Souterrain (Fogou, Earth House) Souterrain is the generic term for an underground prehistoric structure. Known as Earth House in Scotland, and Fogou (pronounced "foogoo") in Cornwall. Stone underground tunnel or chamber. Nobody knows what they were used for, though suggestions include food storage, cattle shelter, refuge against attackers and ritual use.
Standing Stone (Menhir) A single standing stone.
Standing Stones A pair, or other arrangement of stones. Three or more in a line are listed separately as stone row or rows.
Stone Circle A ring of stones, sometimes at a henge. Distinct from a cairn circle, which is not a stone circle proper
Stone Fort or Dun A fortified stone structure. Dun is the gaelic word, as used in Scotland
Stone Row A single row of three or more stones. Some of these can be hundreds of meters long
Timber Circle
Turf Maze A maze cut in the grass. Not necessarily prehistoric, but of interest nonetheless.
Vitrified Fort A stone fort (or dun) that has had some of its stones fused together by extremely high temperatures. How these stones came to be fused is a mystery!

Click on a category for web links to each type of prehistoric site.

Back to the Prehistoric Web Index

Recommended reading