Definitions

wedge shape

Wedge-shaped gallery grave

A wedge-shaped gallery grave or wedge tomb is a type of Irish chamber tomb. They are so named because the burial chamber itself narrows at one end (usually decreasing both in height and width from west to east), producing a wedge shape in plan. An antechamber is separated from the burial area by a simple jamb or sill, and the doorway generally faces west.

A distinguishing characteristic of wedge tombs is the double-walling of the gallery. They were often covered by cairns, which could be round, oval or D-shaped, often with a kerb to revet it. More are low sized, usually about 1.5 meters high, and are generally found on mountain sides, about three-quarters the way up.

Wedge tombs were built between the Irish late Neolithic and middle Bronze Ages (about 2500 to 2000BC). Today, between 500 and 550 known wedge tombs survive in Ireland, and are found predominantly in the west and north west of the island.

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