Debating early urbanization in temperate Europe: From Heuneburg to Bourges

Author(s): Manuel Fernandez-Gotz

Year: 2015


The genesis of large fortified central places is one of the most important phenomena in Later Prehistoric Europe. In Temperate Europe, the origins of urbanism have long been identified with the emergence of the Oppida of the 2nd-1st centuries BC, considered to be the ‘earliest cities north of the Alps’. However, large-scale research projects carried out over recent years have started to challenge this long-established view, to the point that nowadays it is possible to assert that the term ‘urban’ already applies to some of the so-called Fürstensitze or ‘princely sites’ of the 6th and 5th centuries BC. These sites, among which names like the Heuneburg, Mont Lassois, Bourges, Hohenasperg, Glauberg or Závist stand out, stretch across an area from central France in the West to Bohemia in the East. They are testimony to a process of differentiation and hierarchisation in the pattern of settlement that was at the same time both an expression and a catalyst for increasing social inequality, and saw the establishment of aristocratic, in some cases even monarchic forms of rule that cultivated close contacts with the Mediterranean world.

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Cite this Record

Debating early urbanization in temperate Europe: From Heuneburg to Bourges. Manuel Fernandez-Gotz. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395935)

Spatial Coverage

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