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What's in a wall? Considerations on the role of open settlements in Late La Tène Gaul.

Moore, T. and Ponroy, C. (2014) 'What's in a wall? Considerations on the role of open settlements in Late La Tène Gaul.', in Paths to complexity : centralisation and urbanisation in Iron Age Europe. Oxford: Oxbow Books, pp. 140-155.


Despite significant expansion in research on oppida and the impact of development-led archaeology, there continues to be a perceived fundamental division between ‘enclosed’ sites and open settlements when looking at the emergence of ‘urbanism’ in the Late La Tène in Gaul. This emphasis on enclosure as an indicator of the status of Late La Tène sites has recently been questioned, ensuring that there needs to be a careful examination of whether the presence or absence of enclosure provides a meaningful reflection of the chronology, role and status of such sites. This paper seeks to re-examine the phenomenon of unenclosed agglomerations in Late La Tène Gaul through the examination of two regions which have seen recent research. Exploring how such sites are classified and understood as part of the broader changes in Late La Tène society and settlement patterns, this paper questions whether current approaches are in danger of restricting our understanding of the meaning and implications of ‘enclosure’ at oppida and within society. It suggests that a tendency to prioritise enclosed sites may limit our appreciation of the nature of broader social change in the Late La Tène.

Item Type:Book chapter
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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:23 March 2016
Date of first online publication:2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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