Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Fortifications, Archaeology of

  • Tony Pollard
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1367

Introduction and Definition

Defensive structures come in a wide variety of forms and cover an exceptionally long time frame; indeed there are relatively few societies existing either today or in the past that have not utilized some form of fortification, even if it was just a thorn brush fence around a group of huts. What is not clear is when they first appeared, though Mesolithic (c. 10,000–4,000 BCE) possibilities have been cited (Sippila & Lahelma 2006). In their most obvious guises, they range from European Iron Age hillforts to medieval castles, seventeenth-century Anglo-Scottish bastle houses, eighteenth-century fortresses, colonial stockades, and Maori Pãs to First and Second World War concrete defenses, but this list is just the tip of the iceberg. Although this wide portfolio of structures is an obvious response to interhuman conflict, or the threat of it, the nature of this conflict has almost as many variants as there are types of fortifications. This is not however the...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Battlefield ArchaeologyUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK