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Smaller tumuli were used as the burial mounds, while bigger (some up to 7 metres high with 60 metres long base) were the cenotaphs (empty tombs) and ritual places.As of October 2014 there are ongoing excavations at the Kasta Tomb in Amphipolis, Macedonia, Greece with the tumulus having a perimeter of 497 meters.

The tomb within is assessed to be an ancient Macedonian burial monument of the last quarter of the 4th century BC.There are many tumuli in the Great Hungarian Plain, the highest is Gödény-halom near the settlement of Békésszentandrás, in Békés county.In Ukraine and Russia, there are royal kurgans of Varangian chieftains, such as the Black Grave in Ukrainian Chernihiv (excavated in the 19th century), Oleg's Grave in Russian Staraya Ladoga, and vast, intricate Rurik's Hill near Russian Novgorod.Other important kurgans are found in Ukraine and South Russia and are associated with much more ancient steppe peoples, notably the Scythians (e.g., Chortomlyk, Pazyryk) and early Indo-Europeans (e.g., Ipatovo kurgan) The steppe cultures found in Ukraine and South Russia naturally continue into Central Asia, in particular Kazakhstan.The internal structure and architecture of both long and round barrows has a broad range, the categorization only refers to the external apparent shape.

The method of inhumation may involve a dolmen, a cist, a mortuary enclosure, a mortuary house, or a chamber tomb.

The barrow was designed to have a large number of private niches within the stone and earth structure to receive cremation urns.

The structure received significant media attention, with national press writing extensively about the revival of the structures, and various episodes of filming, for example by BBC Countryfile as it was being built. The word kurgan is of Turkic origin, derives from Proto-Turkic *Kur- ("to erect (a building), to establish").

Some British types are listed below: In 2015 the first long barrow in thousands of years, inspired by those built in the Neolithic Period, was built on land just outside the village of All Cannings.

The project was instigated by Tim Daw, a local farmer and steward of Stonehenge.

Salweyn in northern Somalia contains a very large field of cairns, which stretches for a distance of around 8 km.