Megalithic tombs are above ground burial chambers, built of large stone slabs (megaliths) laid on edge and covered with earth or other, smaller stones. They are a type of chamber tomb,  megalithic tombs are, in general, constructions erected during the Neolithic or late stone age and Chalcolitic or Copper Age (4500-1500 BC).  Perhaps the most famous megalithic structure is Stonehenge in England.

The standing megalithic stone has a very ancient tradition in the Middle East, dating back from Mesopotamian times. Although not always ‘megalithic’ in the true sense, they occur throughout the Orient, and can reach 5 metres or more in some cases.

Dolmens and standing stones have been found in large areas of the Middle East starting at the Turkish border in the north of Syria, southwards down to Yemen. They can be encountered in Menjez, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. The largest concentration can be found in southern Syria and Menjez Akkar and along the Jordan RIft Valley, however they are being threatened with destruction. They date from the late Chalcolithic/Early Bronze Age

With 87 megalithic tombs , Menjez, a village in Akkar, is the biggest necropolis of megalithic tomb. The megalithic areas detected in Homs Gap are part of the extensive megalithic phenomenon in Syria and Lebanon. Taking account of the excavations of similar monuments in neighboring regions,specially the megalithiburials excavated by M.Tallon in Mengez (Akkar region in Lebanon), these necropolises should date from the Bronze Age (TALLON,1964;STEIMER,2000)

The morphology of the chambers can be oval,rectangular,polygonal or circular .In general,they are small in size (less than 2 m in diameter). They armade with basaltic flat boulders vertically inserted in the mound and which show  very often a pointed upper extremity.

megalithic tombs, menjez

megalithic tomb menjez

When visible,the base of the chamber is made with a flat basaltic boulder,which can be rectangular or tending to circular,depending on the morphology of the chamber. Some of the mounds among the bigger one show two chambers.

megalithic tomb menjez

In the more complex monuments,the chamber is built on a platform,which is delimited by a kerb. The kerbs are more often rectangular than circular.They are made with big boulders,which can be lying on the mound or inserted vertically into it.

megalithic tomb menjez

 

megalithic tomb menjez

One aspect that is not still clear is whether the chambers which can be nowadays observed in some mounds were originally visible or not. Another question to solve is whether the chambers were covered or not.

The preliminary data allow us to propose new hypothesis for the explanation of the megalithism in the area. Traditionally, Levantine megalithic necropolisehave been related to nomadic populations of herders.

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