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Neolithic ditched enclosures: a comparative history of their interpretation in Britain and Iberia

Neolithic ditched enclosures: a comparative history of their interpretation in Britain and Iberia
Neolithic ditched enclosures: a comparative history of their interpretation in Britain and Iberia
Neolithic ditched enclosures appear to be widely distributed across Central and Western Europe, and from the Mediterranean area to Scandinavia. They have been known in areas of Europe for a long time, but particularly in the last 25 years studies on them have flourished. In southern Iberia, ditched enclosures, which were built for a long period between the 4th and the 3rd millennium cal BCE (Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic), began to be known in the 1970s. Traditional models have viewed Prehistoric Iberian ditched enclosures as 'fortified settlements': permanently inhabited centres with robust defensive systems composed of ditches. Because some of them are of exceptional size, a number of studies have argued that the southern Iberian Chalcolithic (roughly the 3rd millennia BCE) saw the emergence of unprecedented levels of social inequality and the decline of kinship as the basis for most human social relationships. If true, this represents the development of some of the earliest 'complex communities' in Western European Prehistory. Yet, in Britain, Neolithic enclosure sites are often interpreted very differently, as seasonal gathering places for the agglomeration of smaller-scale, more mobile communities that remain based largely on principles of kinship – causewayed enclosures –, or as ceremonial centres – henges. In this paper I will explore the causes of this contradiction between the Iberian and the wider European models by comparing the history of interpretation in Iberia with that in Britain.
Jiménez-Jáimez, Víctor
96444fcf-5e49-4785-9471-660479bf93d2
Jiménez-Jáimez, Víctor
96444fcf-5e49-4785-9471-660479bf93d2

Jiménez-Jáimez, Víctor (2015) Neolithic ditched enclosures: a comparative history of their interpretation in Britain and Iberia. Early Monumentality and Social Differentiation in Neolithic Europe: Megaliths, Societies, Landscapes, Germany. 16 - 20 Jun 2015.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

Neolithic ditched enclosures appear to be widely distributed across Central and Western Europe, and from the Mediterranean area to Scandinavia. They have been known in areas of Europe for a long time, but particularly in the last 25 years studies on them have flourished. In southern Iberia, ditched enclosures, which were built for a long period between the 4th and the 3rd millennium cal BCE (Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic), began to be known in the 1970s. Traditional models have viewed Prehistoric Iberian ditched enclosures as 'fortified settlements': permanently inhabited centres with robust defensive systems composed of ditches. Because some of them are of exceptional size, a number of studies have argued that the southern Iberian Chalcolithic (roughly the 3rd millennia BCE) saw the emergence of unprecedented levels of social inequality and the decline of kinship as the basis for most human social relationships. If true, this represents the development of some of the earliest 'complex communities' in Western European Prehistory. Yet, in Britain, Neolithic enclosure sites are often interpreted very differently, as seasonal gathering places for the agglomeration of smaller-scale, more mobile communities that remain based largely on principles of kinship – causewayed enclosures –, or as ceremonial centres – henges. In this paper I will explore the causes of this contradiction between the Iberian and the wider European models by comparing the history of interpretation in Iberia with that in Britain.

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More information

Published date: June 2015
Venue - Dates: Early Monumentality and Social Differentiation in Neolithic Europe: Megaliths, Societies, Landscapes, Germany, 2015-06-16 - 2015-06-20
Organisations: Archaeology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 390259
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/390259
PURE UUID: 7dbbc3ff-1256-4de9-a937-8c095714475e

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Date deposited: 22 Mar 2016 13:43
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 19:29

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