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Cromlech

stone and stones

CROMLECH, kromilek, the name given to a kind of ancient sepulchral monument, num bers of which have been found in all parts of the British Islands, as well as on the continent of Europe, in Asia and in America. A cromlech consists of three or more columns of unhewn stone supporting a large tabular block so as to form with it a rectangular chamber, beneath the floor of which is generally found a sepul chral chamber or cist enclosing a skeleton, with arms, stone implements and other ancient relics. Sometimes the cromlech was encircled by a ring of standing stones, as is seen in the case of the Standing-stones of Stennis, in Ork ney; and sometimes it was itself buried beneath a large mound of earth. Among the most re markable cromlechs in England are those known as Kit's Coty House, near Aylesford, in Kent, consisting of three upright stones with a very large fiat one above them; the cromlech of Chun Quoit, in Cornwall, the capstone of which is calculated to weigh 20 tons; and two crom lechs standing beside each other at Plas Newydd in Anglesey. Among cromlechs in Scotland we

may mention one near Craigmaddie House, Stirlingshire, known as the Auld Wives' Lifts, remarkable for being a complete cromlech con sisting of three stones only; and a partially ruined one at Bonnington Mains, near Edin burgh, called the Witch's Stone, the capstone of which measures 111/4 feet long and 10% feet in greatest breadth. The term cromlech is supposed by Prof. Daniel Wilson to be derived from cromadh (Gaelic) or cromen (Welsh), signifying a roof or vault, and clack or lech, a stone, and would therefore mean the suspended or vaulted stone. See DOLMEN.