Monumental Biographies: Structure and Agency in European Hillfort Construction

Author(s): Harold Mytum

Year: 2015


European hillforts contrast greatly in scale and complexity, and different regions of the continent have experienced varied historiographies of research. Using a few key examples to illustrate the different approaches to hillfort monumentality, this paper addresses the contrasting emphases on function and meaning seen in such studies. Particular focus will be placed on three aspects, through the theoretical lens of structure and agency: the role of earthwork construction in the creation of meaningful places; entrances and what have been termed ‘guard chambers’ in the management of access to site interiors; and the role of the cheaux-de-frise in creating significant zones beyond the main physical perimeters of hillforts. Much remains to be done to understand individual site biographies and then place these in regional and wider comparative contexts, but those few sites which have received intensive long-term research programs can offer far richer understanding of space, place, and monumentality than the limited data from very partial excavations available from the vast number of hillforts.

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Cite this Record

Monumental Biographies: Structure and Agency in European Hillfort Construction. Harold Mytum. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395932)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;