kids encyclopedia robot

Altar Wedge Tomb facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Altar Wedge Tomb
Native name
Irish: Tuama Dingeach na hAltóra
Altar Cromlech
Altair Burial Tomb, Schull, Co. Cork.jpg
Type wedge-shaped gallery grave
Location Altar, Schull,
County Cork, Ireland
Built c. 2500 BC
National Monument of Ireland
Official name: Altar Wedge Tomb
Reference no. 645
Lua error in Module:Location_map at line 420: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).

Altar Wedge Tomb is a wedge-shaped gallery grave and National Monument located in County Cork, Ireland.


Altar Wedge Tomb is located 6.7 km (4.2 mi) WSW of Schull, on a cliffedge near Toormore Bay.


Wedge tombs of this kind were built in Ireland in the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age, c. 2500–2000 BC.

Cremated burials took place in 2000 BC and pit burials c. 1200 BC. Around AD 200 a pit was dug and filled in with fish, shellfish and cetacean bones, presumably as a ritual practice.

Despite the name, there is no evidence that the "altar" was ever used for sacrifice. It was used as a Mass rock in the 18th century AD. A holy well stood across the road.

It was excavated in summer 1989 by Dr. William O'Brien and Madeline Duggan. Material found included cremated human adult bones, a tooth, worked flint, charcoal, periwinkles, fish bones and limpets.


Toormore Altar Wedge Tomb and Milkyway
Altar wedge tomb under the Milky Way

The entrance was aligned ENE–WSW, possibly with Mizen Peak (Carn Uí Néit) and maybe to catch the setting sun at Samhain (November 1).

The tomb consists of a trapezoidal orthostatic gallery 3.42 m (11.2 ft) long, 1.9 m (6 ft 3 in) wide at the west end 1.25 m (4 ft 1 in) at the east.

A roof-stone 2.7 m (8 ft 10 in) long, is still above the east end, and a second rests against the westerly stones at either side of the gallery. There is no cairn material or evidence of kerbstones; they may have been removed for road construction in the 19th century AD.

kids search engine
Altar Wedge Tomb Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.