Thus, while the long barrow is characteristic of the Stone Age, it is impossible to tell without direct examination whether it may be chambered or unchambered, or whether the burials within it may be those of burnt or of unburnt bodies.
In Ireland, where the long barrow form is all but unknown, the round barrow or chambered cairn prevailed from the earliest Pagan period till the introduction of Christianity.
As in the case of the long barrows, the traditional form of the circular, chambered barrow was retained through various changes in the sepulchral customs of the people.
An interesting example of the great timber-chambered barrow is that at Jelling in Jutland, known as the barrow of Thyre Danebod, queen of King Gorm the Old, who died about the middle of the 10th century.
It is highly illustrative of the tenacity with which the ancient sepulchral usages were retained even after the introduction of Christianity that King Harold, son and successor of Gorm the Old, who is said to have christianized all Denmark and Norway, followed the pagan custom of erecting a chambered tumulus over the remains of his father, on the summit of which was placed a rude pillar-stone, bearing on one side the memorial inscription in runes, and on the other a representation of the Saviour of mankind distinguished by the crossed nimbus surrounding the head.