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Hillforts and settlements in the later prehistoric and protohistoric periods of temperate Europe

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Title: Hillforts and settlements in the later prehistoric and protohistoric periods of temperate Europe


1
Hill-forts and settlements in the later
prehistoric and protohistoric periods of
temperate Europe
  • Feb 2006 Anthropology 222
  • Sewanee the University of the South
  • Professor Ian Ralston

2
Hill-forts and topographic advantage
Promontory fort coastal and/or limestone
country Contour fort fortifications follow the
contour around a hill Ridge-fort Backed onto
cliff
3
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4
Imposing features in their landscape and
still…. The Ipf-bei-Bopfingen, Germany
5
Timber and stone walls Holz-Stein-Erd-mauer
6
Hill-forts start in the Neolithic and continue
into Early Historic times Mam Tor, Derbyshire,
England dates to the Late Bronze Age…
7
… as is Dun Aonghasa, Aran Islands, Eire
Many date to the European Iron Age. They are thus
a feature of, but not unique to, Celtic Europe.
8
Many details are still contentious….
9
The murus gallicus (Julius Caesar de Bello
gallico Book VII, ch. 23) prestige and the
consumption of resources in protohistory
10
Dump ramparts the Fecamp series efficiency
against Roman artillery?
11
Multivallation at Maiden Castle, Dorset (sling
warfare?)
1935 AP
12
Organisation, hierarchy, naming …
  • For some times and places, there are indications
    of hierarchies of settlements Caesars de Bello
    gallico mentions aedificia (homesteads), vici
    (villages) castella (small forts) and oppida
    (towns)
  • The late Hallstatt world has Fürstensitze
    (princely seats) as the settlement locations to
    complement the princely graves, like those at
    Hochdorf or Vix.
  • Exceptional big, well-used sites of as early as
    the Vth century BC are being found N of the Alps
    the sites of Lyons and Bourges are candidates.
    These are noteworthy for the presence of
    extensive areas of craft-working.
  • Successful places may have gone on being so
    Geneva, Paris, Bourges, Milan … (archaeology
    deeply stratified)
  • Little hill-forts can be elite residences
  • Many areas of temperate Europe dont display, or
    only intermittently used, hill-forts
  • Most people in the European Iron Age lived and
    worked in the countryside.

13
INTERNAL FEATURES ARCHITECTURE ESPECIALLY
HOUSES
  • Underpinning assumption architecture is a good
    way of displaying status to neighbours and
    visitors impact on those permitted to enter

14
Late Hallstatt (c. 500 BCE) multi-room buildings
Heuneburg, Baden-Wurttemburg, SW Germany
geophysics
Mont Lassois 2004
15
Courtyard / atrium style house, oppidum of Mont
Beuvray, Burgundy, France
16
British double-ring roundhouses Pimperne, Dorset
Butser reconstruction
Although many British forts contain roundhouses,
the grandest ones are often located in lesser
enclosures
17
Conspicuous houses or miniaturised forts the
brochs (Complex Atlantic roundhouses) of Scotland
18
Settlement and building forms
  • Buildings can be rectilinear in plan (most areas)
    or round (dominantly British Isles, parts of
    Iberia, parts of N France in late Iron Age)
  • Settlements can be unenclosed, lightly enclosed
    or enclosed (hill-forts)
  • Settlement units can vary in size from isolated
    dwellings (enclosed or not) to massive enclosures
    of several thousand hectares (very rare)
  • Not all hill-forts show evidence for internal
    settlement

19
Building materials impact on survival and
detection
  • Key materials are timber, earth, dry-stone (i.e.
    used without mortars), wattle-and-daub, and
    clay-brick
  • Buildings and other structures rarely have
    foundations as such, but vertical timbers are
    often made earthfast by being set in
    specially-dug holes (post-holes) to facilitate
    building
  • In particular where soft woods are used, timbers
    are laid horizontally, log-cabin style (Blockbau)
  • Wood is jointed or lashed until late in the Iron
    Age when nails begin to be used in construction
    (throw-away uses of iron…)

20
Hill-forts and settlements occur in their
thousands….
  • Ground survey zone of survival, zone of
    destruction
  • Aerial survey
  • Geophysics
  • Wetland contexts
  • Rescue/salvage projects
  • Within later settlements (Geneva, Paris, Bourges…)

21
Hill-forts are major engineering works / survival
cf bridges
Thames at Eton College
22
Decay … and post-holes for earthfast timbers
23
Join up the dots to recover the structure plan….
24
Staircases in stone, scarcement ledges and the
brochs
On the wallhead at Midhowe, Rousay, Orkney
25
Bastions and towers in southern dry-stone
forts Entremont, Provence, France
26
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27
and the importance of porches
Villeneuve Saint Germain, Aisne, France
compound Reconstructed at SAMARA, Somme
valley,
28
Imagery helps house urns and Val Camonica
29
All kin? Or neighbours not entirely to be
trusted? Latchlifters and keys by the late Iron
Age
30
Architectural variety…
  • Semi-sunken floored buildings (Grübenhaus)
    especially in central Europe
  • Density of buildings terraced houses in S
    France (cf. Monte Bibele)
  • Houses on sleeper beams / Blockbau
  • Living in the wetlands Scottish crannogs and
    Somerset lake villages a defensive aspect

31
Semi-sunken buildings easy to find often
workshops
32
Martigues, near Marseilles
Unfired mud-brick / adobe
Martigues, V/IV cent BC
33
A house in Martigues
34
Upland forts near coniferous woodland Horizontal
timbers harder to find sleeper beams and
Blockbau
35
Storage of food surpluses Four (or more)-post
granaries
36
Storage pits
Preservation of cereal grain up to several
metric tonnes in each pit
37
Cellars and individual houses
38
Round or rectangular? Castro de Baroña, Galicia,
Spain
39
Destruction
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