Fortified Settlements in Early Medieval Europe: Defended Communities of the 8th-10th Centuries [Hardback]

Neil Christie (Editor); Hajnalka Herold (Editor)

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ISBN: 9781785702358 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2016 | Language: English 352p, H280 x W216 (mm)

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Fortified Settlements in Early Medieval Europe


Twenty-three contributions by leading archaeologists from across Europe explore the varied forms, functions and significances of fortified settlements in the 8th to 10th centuries AD. These could be sites of strongly martial nature, upland retreats, monastic enclosures, rural seats, island bases, or urban nuclei. But they were all expressions of control - of states, frontiers, lands, materials, communities - and ones defined by walls, ramparts or enclosing banks. Papers run from Irish cashels to Welsh and Pictish strongholds, Saxon burhs, Viking fortresses, Byzantine castra, Carolingian creations, Venetian barricades, Slavic strongholds, and Bulgarian central places, and coverage extends fully from north-west Europe, to central Europe, the northern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Strongly informed by recent fieldwork and excavations, but drawing also where available on the documentary record, this important collection provides fully up-to-date reviews and analyses of the archaeologies of the distinctive settlement forms that characterised Europe in the Early Middle Ages.

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Contributors
‘Defining and Understanding Defended Settlements in Early Medieval Europe: Structures, Roles, Landscapes and Communities’ – Neil Christie & Hajnalka Herold
1.‘The Irish Cashel: Enclosed Settlement, Fortified Settlement or Settled Fortification? With Evidence from Ongoing Excavations at Caherconnell, Co. Clare, Western Ireland’ – Michelle Comber (Galway, Ireland)
2.‘Early Medieval Defended Settlement Enclosures in Ireland in the 9th and 10th Centuries AD’ – Aidan O’Sullivan (Dublin, Ireland)
3.‘Fortified Settlement and the Emergence of Kingdoms in Northern Scotland in the First Millennium AD’ – Gordon Noble (Aberdeen, UK)
4.‘Defended Settlement in Early Medieval Wales: Problems of Presence, Absence and Interpretation’ – Andrew Seaman (Canterbury, UK)
5.‘Creating Defended Communities in Later Saxon Wessex’ – Neil Christie (Leicester, UK)
6.‘Monumental Expression and Fortification in Denmark in the Time of King Harald Bluetooth’ – Anne Pedersen (Copenhagen, Denmark)
7. ‘North-Western Slavic Strongholds of the 8th–10th Centuries AD’ – Felix Biermann (Göttingen, Germany)
8. ‘Early Medieval Strongholds in Polish Lands’ – Przemysław Urbańczyk (Warsaw, Poland)
9. ‘The Natural Environment, Anthropogenic Influences and Supra-Regional Contacts at 9th- to 10th-Century Fortified Elite Settlements in Central Europe’ – Hajnalka Herold (Exeter, UK)
10. ‘The Beginnings of Medieval Fortifications in the Late Carolingian Period from a Swiss Perspective‘ – Adriano Boschetti-Maradi (Bern, Switzerland)
11. ‘Anxious Abbots? Questions of Monastic Security and Insecurity in Early Medieval Europe’ – Neil Christie (Leicester, UK) & Richard Hodges (Rome, Italy)
12. ‘Controlling and Contesting Urban Spaces: Rulers and Urban Communities in Southern England and Northern France from the Later 9th to 11th Century’ – Ryan Lavelle (Winchester, UK)
13. ‘Circular, D-Shaped and Other Fortifications in 9th- and 10th-Century Flanders and Zeeland as Markers of the Territorialisation of Power(s)’ – Dries Tys, Pieterjan Deckers & Barbora Wouters (Brussels, Belgium)
14. ‘Early and High Medieval ‘Incastellamento’ in Northern Iberia: Fortified Settlements in the Basque Country and Upper Ebro Valley (9th–12th Centuries)’ – Juan Antonio Quirós Castillo (Vitoria-Gasteiz, Pais Vasco/Spain)
15. ‘The Southern Carolingian Frontier in Marca Hispanica along the River Ter: Roda Civitas and the Archaeological Site of L’Esquerda (Catalonia)’ – Imma Ollich-Castanyer, Montserrat Rocafiguera-Espona and Maria Ocaña-Subirana (Barcelona, Catalonia/Spain)
16. ‘The Western Black Sea Coast in the 8th–10th Centuries: How and How Much was it Defended?’ – Rossina Kostova (Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria)
17. ‘A Window on an Uncertain World: Butrint and the Fortified Sites of Epirus in the 7th–9th Centuries AD’ – William Bowden (Nottingham, UK)
18. ‘Fortified Settlements in Carolingian Istria’ – Miljenko Jurković (Zagreb, Croatia)
19. ‘Castles on the Water? Defences in Venice and Comacchio during the Early Middle Ages’ – Sauro Gelichi (Venice, Italy)
20. ‘Walled Towns of the 8th–11th Centuries in Central Italy’ – Carlo Citter (Siena, Italy)
21. ‘Fortified Settlements of the 8th to 10th Centuries. Italy and the Case of Tuscany’ – Marco Valenti (Siena, Italy)
22. ‘Timber and Earth in the Architecture of Italian Early Medieval Fortified Sites (8th–10th Centuries AD)’ – Vittorio Fronza (Siena, Italy)
23. ‘Fortified and Unfortified Settlements in Byzantine and Islamic Sicily: 6th to 11th Centuries’ – Alessandra Molinari (Rome, Italy)

Reviews & Quotes

"The inclusion of studies and authors from across Europe allows a discussion of similarities and differences within these settlements… The volume itself is produced to a very high standard, with many illustrations and diagrams to complement the text."
Duncan Berryman
Ulster Archaeological Society Newsletter

"…a wide-ranging but coherent valuable collection on defended settlements, their contexts and their environments in the early Middle Ages, which will certainly be the starting point for further studies on the topic."
Thomas Kohl
Landscape History (05/12/2017)

"In conclusion, I consider that this volume makes an essential contribution to knowing how to organize the defense of settlements from the early medieval period in various regions of Europe. At the same time, these discussions lead to continuation, diversification and expansion research on fortifications at the end of the first millennium."
Sergiu Musteata [Translated]
Plural. Culture. History. Society. (29/12/2020)

"This important book fills a substantial scholarly gap...I really enjoyed reading all the papers- an experience which gave me massive food for thought and new ideas."
Andrea Augenti
Medieval Archaeology (16/10/2018)

"This book is very well illustrated, often in colour, and the editing is excellent... Overall, it is an interesting volume which brings much new archaeological research and excavation to the fore and provides a critical assessment of our current understanding of early medieval fortified sites across most of Europe. It frequently demonstrates that long-held interpretations based largely on the written evidence are outmoded as the archaeology presents an increasingly complex picture. This emerging evidence offers a valuable opportunity for further comparative research on these over-arching themes in the future."
Nancy Edwards
Archaeological Journal (31/07/2017)

"Unquestionably, the reviewed volume brings a wealth of findings about strongholds in the North and South of our continent."
Marcin Woloszyn
Acta Archaeologica Carpathica

"The book is meticulously edited, adequately illustrated, and neatly produced. It will serve as an inspiration and a reference for students and researchers for years to come. It will do much to restore early medieval fortified sites--and their communities--as a hotspot of archaeological research."
Søren Michael Sindbæk
The Medieval Review (19/10/2018)

"The publication provides an excellent and, in many respects, new overview of early medieval fortifications at the junction between early historic fortified settlements and the emergence of the medieval castle."
G. Ulrich Großmann
Francia Recensio (31/07/2017)

"I find the book very useful and very much needed for ongoing academic research."
Michael Olausson
European Journal of Archaeology (28/07/2017)

"All articles contain helpful summaries that allow a quick overview and quickly reveal the essentials.Therefore, the book fulfills its task [...] to provide a kind of overview of current research on the so-called 'fortified' settlements so typical of the 8th to 10th centuries. [translated from German]"
Sebastian Brather
Germania (26/05/2020)

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