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Beyond Iron Age ‘towns’: Examining oppida as examples of mega-sites and low-density urbanism

Author(s): Tom Moore

Year: 2017

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The question of whether Late Iron Age oppida in Europe were truly ‘urban’ has dominated debate over these sites since the 19th century. Oppida, however, have been surprisingly absent from comparative urban studies, despite increasingly nuanced perspectives on the nature and diversity of the urban phenomenon. In particular, Roland Fletcher’s suggestion that oppida might be examples of a range of alternative urban-like centres has been largely ignored by scholars of the European Iron Age. The increasingly complex nature of many oppida makes it a pertinent time to assess Fletcher’s claims and examine whether oppida can be compared to low-density urbanism elsewhere in the world. Using specific case studies, this paper argues that oppida do indeed share characteristics of low-density urbanism and that this is likely to be due to the negotiated nature of power in Iron Age societies.

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Beyond Iron Age ‘towns’: Examining oppida as examples of mega-sites and low-density urbanism. Tom Moore. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430827)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14468

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America