Bohateh North : Wedge Tomb

CountyClare
Grid RefR 678 906
Longitude8° 28' 45.4" W
Latitude52° 57' 54.9" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownMountshannon (5.2 Km)
OS Sheet52
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 12th October 2003

This site is wonderfully located on the hills to the north of Lough Derg. The views are simply stunning, even on a damp, misty day like this one.

The Archaeological Inventory classes this as a wedge tomb , but it is more like a megalithic kist . A huge squarish capstone leans against the one remaining wall stone to the west. The north and south wall stones are present but have collapsed beneath the capstone. An odd monolith stands just to the side of the main monument and an outlying slab stands 30m to the northwest.

The [glog:chamber] would have been about 1.5m square internally and about 1m high. It's interesting to note that many of the other tombs around here (and there are a lot) are well set into the bog, but this one has definitely been built on what would have been a high spot before the bog developed.

Did I mention the views? Yes? Well, they're so good that I'll mention them again. The views here are spectacular!

Wedge tombs are most easily catagorised by their main characteristic - they are taller and wider at the entrance than they are at the rear. Like court tombs they have a gallery which is split either by septal slabs or sill stones into smaller chambers. Galleries can be anything up to 8m in length.

The side walls are, uniquely, made of two rows of stones (three in some cases), which is refered to as double or triple walling. This double walling is perhaps the best feature to identify a wedge tomb by.

The roofs are constructed by laying large blocks or slabs across the gallery, resting on the tops of the walls.

They are often quite small, an amazing exception being Labbacallee (County Cork), one of the largest in Ireland. It is very rare to find a wedge tomb with its roof still in situ, although, occasionally, one or two of the roof slabs are present (see Proleek (County Louth)).

In some examples the roof would have extended beyond the front closing slab forming a portico at the front, which in a few specimens was split by a vertical stone place centrally in the entrance.

Like court tombs, portal tombs and passage tombs they were covered by a cairn, which, at many sites, it is still often possible to determine. A few, such as Burren SW (County Cavan), still retain a large proportion of the cairn.

There are two kinds of burial chamber that are refered to as cists or kists. Kist is usually used to refer to a megalithic structure and cist used for later Bronze Age burials.

Cists are small slab lined boxes, set into the ground, with a single slab used as a cover. They tend to be no larger than 1.5m square. Although cists are found in dedicated mounds or cairns they are often later insertions into megalithic cairns (see Kilmashogue (County Dublin)).

Kists are much bigger structures and usually built above ground level (see Dolmen of the Four Maols (County Mayo))and covered by a cairn. They are usually rectangular in plan with vertical sides, but one type, known as a Linkardstown Kist is pentagonal with sloping side stones (see Cloghtogle (County Fermanagh)).

The large rock used to form the roof of a portal tomb or kist.

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About Coordinates Displayed

This is an explanation of (and a bit of a disclaimer for) the coordinates I provide.

Where a GPS figure is given this is the master for all other coordinates. According to my Garmin these are quite accurate.

Where there is no GPS figure the 6 figure grid reference is master for the others. This may not be very accurate as it could have come from the OS maps and could have been read by eye. Consequently, all other cordinates are going to have inaccuracies.

The calculation of Longitude and Latitude uses an algorithm that is not 100% accurate. The long/lat figures are used as a basis for calculating the UTM & ITM coordinates. Consequently, UTM & ITM coordinates are slightly out.

UTM is a global coordinate system - Universal Transverse Mercator - that is at the core of the GPS system.

ITM is the new coordinate system - Irish Transverse Mercator - that is more accurate and more GPS friendly than the Irish Grid Reference system. This will be used on the next generation of Irish OS maps.

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