In architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 a forecourt is an open area in front of a structure's entrance.

In archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

, forecourt
Megalithic architectural elements
This article describes several characteristic architectural elements typical of European megalithic structures.-Forecourt:In archaeology, a forecourt is the name given to the area in front of certain types of chamber tomb...

 is the name given to the area in front of certain types of chamber tomb
Chamber tomb
A chamber tomb is a tomb for burial used in many different cultures. In the case of individual burials, the chamber is thought to signify a higher status for the interree than a simple grave. Built from rock or sometimes wood, the chambers could also serve as places for storage of the dead from one...

. They were likely the venue of ritual
A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

 practices connected with the burial and commemoration of the dead in the past societies that built these types of tomb
A tomb is a repository for the remains of the dead. It is generally any structurally enclosed interment space or burial chamber, of varying sizes...


In European megalithic architecture, such as that found in the Megalithic Temples of Malta
Megalithic Temples of Malta
The Megalithic Temples of Malta are a series of prehistoric monuments in Malta of which seven are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Archaeologists believe that these megalithic complexes are the result of local innovations in a process of cultural evolution...

, forecourts are curved in plan with the entrance to the tomb at the apex of the open semicircular enclosure that the forecourt creates. The sides were built up by either large upright stones or walls of smaller stones laid atop one another.

Some also had paved floors and some had blocking stones erected in front of them to seal the tomb such as at West Kennet Long Barrow
West Kennet Long Barrow
The West Kennet Long Barrow is a Neolithic tomb or barrow, situated on a prominent chalk ridge, near Silbury Hill, one-and-a-half miles south of Avebury in Wiltshire, England. The site was recorded by John Aubrey in the 17th century and by William Stukeley in the 18th century.Archaeologists...

. Their shape, which suggests an attempt to focus attention on the tomb itself may mean that they were used ceremonially as a kind of open air auditorium during ceremonies. Excavation within some forecourts has recovered animal bone
Bones are rigid organs that constitute part of the endoskeleton of vertebrates. They support, and protect the various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells and store minerals. Bone tissue is a type of dense connective tissue...

, pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

 and evidence of burning suggesting that they served as locations for votive offerings or feasting dedicated to the dead.

In a gas station a forecourt is the area where the pumps are present. It is the area outside the sales room or the convenience store of a gas station when customers park their automobiles for filling fuel. It can either be manned or unmanned.

In athletic field, forecourt means first half of a race.
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