Cist Burials

A “cist burial” is a type of prehistoric burial in which the deceased’s body is placed inside a small rectangular stone-lined grave. This type of burial is common in many parts of the world, including Ireland, where it has been found in various archaeological sites from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age.

In Ireland, cist burials are usually found in small clusters, sometimes as part of a larger burial site, and are typically constructed using large flat stones to form the walls and roof of the burial chamber. The remains of the deceased are often placed on a layer of pebbles or stones, and the grave is usually covered with a capstone to protect the contents.

One example of a cist burial in Ireland is the Cairn L necropolis, located near the town of Loughrea in County Galway. This site contains over 30 cist burials, some of which were accompanied by pottery, jewellery, and other artefacts, providing valuable insights into the cultural practices and beliefs of the people who lived in the area during the Bronze Age.

Another example of cist burials in Ireland can be found at the Kilteasheen burial site in County Roscommon. This site contains several cist burials, some of which were found to contain the remains of multiple individuals, suggesting that these graves may have served as communal burial sites for families or communities.

Cist burials are important archaeological features in Ireland, as they provide a glimpse into the burial practices and beliefs of our ancient ancestors. The presence of artefacts and other accompanying material within these burials can give us valuable insights into the culture, economy, and social structure of the people who lived in Ireland during the prehistoric period. Further studies of these sites and the objects contained within them can continue to expand our understanding of the rich cultural heritage of Ireland and its place in the wider European context.

Interactive Map of Cist Burials in the Republic of Ireland