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Shaft Grave Circles A and B
DEFINITION: Richly furnished tombs at Mycenae made up of circles enclosed by a low stone parapet and containing 30 graves total. The offerings suggest that the rules of Mycenae must have been buried here, probably in the later 17th and 16th centuries BC. The grave goods include gold and silver cups, jewelry, dress ornaments, golden diadems, elaborate hairpins, amethyst beads, amber, and bronze weapons. The great influence of Crete on these graves is visible in the metal cups, faience "sacral knots" appliquéd ostrich eggs conch shells gold triple shrine facades and imported pottery. There is a wealth of local art such as formal gold cups gold worked in patterns of lions bulls and plants and lions twisted as ornament.
CATEGORY: structure; feature
DEFINITION: A series of stones set up in a ring, the commonest prehistoric monuments of England, such as those at Avebury and Stonehenge. Most were of stone, though some were of wood or a combination of the two. They vary greatly in size, from a few feet in diameter, to those which are a 1/4-mile in diameter and huge monoliths of 60 tons. Some circles have monoliths in the center and some smaller circles have burials in the center.
hut circle
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: A circle of earth or stones along the circumference of a previously existing hut. A circular depression, wall, or ring of boulders, marking the footing of a vanished hut.
stone circle
CATEGORY: feature; structure
DEFINITION: A ring of standing stones, either circular or near-circular, found in the British Isles from the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. There are almost 1000 stone circles, some surrounded by a ditch, with the most famous examples being Stonehenge, Avebury, and Callanish. Two atypical examples are in Brittany. The standing stones which make up these circles are widely spaced; in many examples they are incorporated into a ring-bank of smaller piled stones which has one opening as the entrance. A local variant is the recumbent stone circle of Aberdeenshire in which the entrance is marked by a large horizontal stone flanked by tall portal stones. A recumbent stone is also a feature of circles in southwest Ireland, but here the two tallest stones are placed diametrically opposite the horizontal stone. Two of the Scottish recumbent stone circles have yielded Beaker pottery, while urn burials in various 'standard' circles were of Bronze Age type. Circles are often associated with cairns, menhirs, and alignments. Many have tried to interpret the complex geometric layouts and placement of the stones within an astronomical base. There has been much discussion about the validity of various theories and there is no agreement on the subject.
wood circle
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: Type of circle erected before megaliths were used. Like stone circles, the smaller ones enclosed burials; the larger, like Woodhenge, near Stonehenge, may have been religious circles or roofed, colonnaded shrines. A circular feature demarcated by large upright timbers, esp. for astronomical observations.

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