Huge, often undressed stone used in various types of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age monuments. The most ancient form of megalithic construction is probably the dolmen, a type of burial chamber consisting of several upright supports and a flat roofing slab. Another form is the menhir, a simple upright stone usually placed with others to form a circle, as at Stonehenge and Avebury in England, or a straight alignment, as at Carnac in France. The meaning of megalithic monuments remains largely unknown, but all share certain architectural and technical features suggesting that their creators sought to impose a conspicuously human design on the landscape and imbue it with cultural symbols. See also rock art.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on megalith, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up megalith? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.