The stone box (English cist; dän costs, grav - boxes or bright; . Schwed. hällkista; cornish cistvaen or kistvaen ) is a lithic depot for skeletons or human bone, which is located in parts of Eurasia and in the East as well as in South and East Asia place at different times. In areas of Europe megalithic architecture, stone cists often in parallel with other plant species, but also before and after their establishment.

In Switzerland, from 4300 BC occurring stone box type Chamblandes one of the oldest facilities of its kind, the monuments are an expression of the culture and ideology of Neolithic societies. Development and function are considered as indicator of social development.


A stone box has in principle no access (although there are those with a soul hole ). Although there are overground scale stone boxes, sometimes in a now- eroded hills were ( Juelsberg ), most were sunk into the ground ( Filholm, Folehaven in Denmark). The North Jutland grave boxes with curbs, access, threshold stones and spacious chamber, the capstone is sometimes even supported by stone pillars, reminiscent of temples. The question whether certain small boxes are megalithic or submegalithischer nature, is controversial as the Urdolmen. Hans -Jürgen Beier called Fabric- box-like structures with lateral access as a " passage grave boxes ".

Demarcation between stone boxes, grave boxes and Urdolmen

In the necropolis of Bruessow - Wollschow, in Uckermark, came 14 Urdolmen ( five received ) and 28 stone boxes in front. In many cases, a clear separation is impossible. The differences in the degree of depression and in the material of the wall stones. The Urdolmen they consist of attachments in the stone boxes made ​​of boards. Whether this was for the Neolithic people of relevance remains questionable.

The basic plan of the Nordic grave cases, as with many dolmens square or pear-shaped. In an extension of the chamber is where a short, oriented to the south aisle with a threshold stone.

From the Swedish archaeologist Oscar Montelius (1843-1921), the Stone Age was divided into a " dolmen, passage grave and stone crate time ". The stone box time corresponds to the Neolithic period (cup cultures). This classification has stock in roughly even today.

Stone cists at Gielow

Floor plan of the trapezoidal stone box at Vadstena (Sweden)

Stone boxes in the environment of the Funnel Beaker cultures

In the north central Europe and in Scandinavia, the stone box with the younger phase of the Funnel Beaker cultures ( TBK ) appears from about 3500 BC At the end of the Stone Age there are in this area and beyond following distinguishable boxes in the Hercynian space under their own names as gallery grave:

  • The "little boxes " in the Uckermark
  • The grave boxes on the street of the megalithic culture in western Lower Saxony
  • The boxes created grave boxes with dry coarse masonry in North Jutland
  • The megalithic stone boxes in Sweden
  • The smaller stone boxes from block material are called " block boxes " or " chambers " ( Wollschow 19 29) referred to in central Germany. The transition to the stone boxes whose walls consist of meht platy material and the Urdolmen is fluid.
  • The boxes of the successor of TBK, stone box in Uelzen City Forest
  • The late Neolithic (or later ) boxes of Bootaxtkultur in Sweden, Kugelamphoren culture, Bernburger culture, cup cultures and other cultures.

Final Neolithic

Final Neolithic stone boxes can also be found under earth and stone hills. As an example of the Bargloyer stone box is to be mentioned with their strewn bowl capstone. The stone box in the field Mark Rade, the stone box by Fehr and break the stone box of Deinste installations are probably the single grave culture. In Saxony-Anhalt, only recently discovered boxes of Langeneichstädt ( Bernburg culture) and the corpus of stone unopened box of Esperstedt ( Corded Ware culture ) should be mentioned. Especially numerous are large (up to 14 m long ) and small boxes this time in Sweden ( Södra Härene in Västergötland, Fjällsökla / Frändefors in Dalsland ). They are both in the soil and under mostly flat earth and stone hills of square, oval or round shape.

Bronze age

In Sweden, the cairn, under which there are now only the small stone boxes called Röser. An impressive construction is Kauparve (see web link) on Gotland. Here enter the crates at the end of their rectangular shape and are designed just below the surface when ships. A variant of the stone box, the grave box is built in Sweden platy machined panels and picture stone -like ornaments bears, which is up in Christian era (1200 AD) in use. In Norway, a triangular stone box was with cremated remains found in Drakjihaugen in Steinkjer. Orkney one has been discovered to Fresh Knove.

Another rare form that is often found in association with stone boxes are, the tomb in the English Boulder or rock tombs mentioned Burials. Some boulders bear cup-and -ring markings or small bowl or cup marks. Ultimately, even cremated remains deposited ( Smerup on Thyholm, Denmark) in the now again very small stone boxes.

The most famous stone cist Germany is the stone box of Anderlingen in the district of Rotenburg ( Wümme ), on the southern capstone three human figures can be seen in the style of Scandinavian rock carvings, which are unique in Germany. The chamber was made ​​of granite slabs aligned northwest -southeast and has the clear dimensions of 2.0 meters by 0.7 meters. From the former inhumation only a few bone fragments have been preserved. After the additions to judge a man had been buried here in the late Bronze Age. The stone box of Anderlingen was moved and rebuilt in Maschpark of Hanover.


Several carved into the rock and originally covered by a stone slab cist tombs can be found in the necropolis of Marshan in Tangier ( Morocco). They were put to new use in Roman times; Finds of Roman grave goods are exhibited in the ' Musée de la Kasbah '.

The seven stone cists and the Stone Age settlement of Kaseküla (also Kasekla ) are about 0.5 km southwest of the center of the village in Läänemaa in Estonia. They were discovered in 1971 and in 1973 the northernmost, located in a stone circle stone cist was excavated.