Glosario

Grave-Goods: Funeral offerings (food, arrowheads, axes, chip axes, pottery ...) deposited in the burial chamber next to each body.

Chip ax: Sharp artefact with a wide leaf used to polish wood and to hollow trunks. It was united perpendicularly to a wood handle.

Calcolitic: Pprehistoric period when metallurgy began, being the copper the first metal to be worked. In Galicia it appears around the year 2,300 B.C.

Bell Shaped pottery: Type of pottery that appeared in the final phase of the megalithic period characterized by its inverted bell shape and its decoration with bands.

Carbon 14: Dating system based on the content of the radioactive isotope C14 existing in prehistoric organic materials (vegetal coal, bones, wood...), that begins to disintegrate after the death of an alive being with a fixed rhythm. This material is assumed to be contemporary with the monument itself. This type of dating slightly differs from a real calendar.

Cup-marks (bowl shaped engravings) : Small excavated circular hollows in the stone that cover the surface of some menhirs or megalithic slabs. They can be isolated or forming groups.

Cist (stone cist) : Funeral quadrangular shaped building, generally megalithic, in whose interior a body was introduced, accompanied of grave-goods. In Galicia, they appear in the final phase of the megalithic period.

Cromlech: Word of Breton origin that makes reference to the rows of standing stones.

Dendrochronology: Dating system that studies the growth of the trees thorough their rings, and that is used to date objects and timber structures appeared in archaeological sites. It is used to correct the datings obtained through Carbon 14.

Dolmen: Word of Breton origin that means "stone table". It is used to refer to the collective megalithic graves spread all over Western Europe. The term "anta" is the equivalent word in Galician language, although there are more popular denominations like "casota", "forno" , "mina" or "arca".

Secondary burial: It is a burial practice in which the remains of the bodies were carried out from its original burial to a tomb or ossuary.

Idol: So are known in Galicia the small slightly anthropomorphic figures appeared opposite to the entrance passage and in the barrow limit during the excavations of some dolmens. If they are truncated cone shaped and they look like a boulder they are named betilos.

Incineration: Funeral rite in which the body is burnt and the ashes are often placed in urns that then are buried, or are introduced in a hole practiced directly in the ground.

Inhumation: Burial rite in which the bodies are deposited, generally in flexed position, without having submitted them to any operation post morten, putting they close to the walls of the megalithic monuments. They used to be accompanied of grave-goods.

Menhir: Word of Breton origin that means standing stone. It refers to the great monoliths erected during prehistory in Western Europe and they are isolated or forming alignments. In Galician language it exists the word Pedrafita to name them.

Microlith: Small leaf of flint, generally triangular shaped, that was placed in wooden or bone shafts to be used as an arrowhead or as an harpoon.

Mouros: Mythological beings that are present in the collective memory of the Galician peasants who believe they were those who constructed the barrows and hill-forts so abundant in the Galician landscape.

Neolithic: Period in prehistory in which the economy of the Paleolithic, based in the hunting and in the harvesting of wild plants, was replaced by an economy in which food is produced thanks to the taming of animals (cattle) and to the earth culture (agriculture). This contributed to the surge of the first human permanent settlements. Other contributions of this period are the improvement in the work of stone, the appearance of pottery and the weave of linen. It spread from the Middle East following the Mediterranean coast and the plains of the Danube, and arrived to the Spanish east coast in the VI millennium B.C.

Orthostat (upright slabs) : Each one of the vertical stones used in the construction of a megalithic chamber. In Galician language its name is "esteos" or "chantas".

Paleosoil: Original soil, previous to the construction of a dolmen and from which data under the chamber or barrow can be obtained. The analysis of pollens and seeds that are found during the excavation are specially valuable because of the numerous data they provide.

Thermoluminescence: Dating system applicable to inorganic materials, specially pottery, that have been warmed up or burned, as it measures the amount of light emitted between the last time they were put under a fire and the heating used for their analysis.

Barrow (Mound, Tumulus) : Artificial mound of earth or earth and stones that covers a megalithic chamber or surrounds it. It is possible to find unchambered mound structures. In Galician language there are numerous words to name these constructions, being the most usual : "mámoa" , word which extends all over the Galician geography although it is possible to find the names of "madorna" (in the mountain range of Meira in Lugo), "medoña" (in various places of Lugo and Coruña), "medorra ( in Ordes area in Coruña), "modia" in the Terra Chá in Lugo, "madroa" in the area of Vigo, or "mota" to the south-west of the province of Ourense.

Variscite: Greenish mineral very appreciated in prehistory for the manufacture of ornaments, specially necklaces.