Wednesday, September 30, 2015

0310 - Call for papers

Is now open the call for papers for the conference "Enclosing worlds. Comparative approaches to enclosure phenomena" to be held in Portugal in October 2016.

More information here


Thursday, September 3, 2015

0309 – Back to Perdigões

Next week I will be back to Perdigões to finish the section in ditch 7. In this section the ditch is already 3 meters deep and, although it is quite narrow down there, the walls are still quite vertical. So it is not easy to estimate how much deeper it will go.

Note that the section is in the area where ditch 7 is starting to overlap ditch 8 (a previous Neolithic one). So the inner wall of the ditch (right in the image) is, in this area, constituted by the sediments that were filling the previous ditch. This filling, that goes until about 2 meters deep (ditch 8 was less deep), is constituted by deposits of earth with faunal remains and pottery shards. But this wall of earth was not eroded and it would have been easily if exposed to winter rains. This means that ditch 7, at least in this section, had to have been opened and rapidly filled.

And as you can see in the section, after it was filled (with a sequence of layers of stones, faunal – and human – remains and pottery shards) it was reopened through a recutting, then filled with layers of stones.

This is a stratigraphic sequence of openings and deliberate fillings that shows the nature of this ditch. A ditch that defines a inner enclosure that I now think that can be related to a later, complex and highly symbolic occupation of the central area of the natural theatre where Perdigões stands.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

0308 - New project on Perdigões enclosure

Mobility is one of the most actual issues to research in Prehistory, in the context of a socially committed Archaeology. Here is the abstract for the new research project on Mobility for Perdigões enclosure that will be financed by the Portuguese Science Foundation, led by NIA-ERA and ICArEHB for 2016-2018.

Abstract here

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

0307 – Coming back

I have been out for a while. Perdigões excavations got my full attention for the last 5 weeks (I will be there one more week in September). So I have not been able to provide you with new information about Portuguese enclosures.

Nevertheless, the results from Perdigões 2015 campaign will provide food for several future posts (and papers). For now, I just display an image of what I think (at the moment) to be the earliest ditch in Perdigões set of enclosures: a small “V” shape ditch, right in the middle of the natural amphitheater. It was baptized as Ditch 13.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

0306 - Exposed

A nice one (or two?) exposed by a dam.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

0305 - Perdigões campaign 2015

It starts next Monday. The archaeological works may be followed here.

Friday, July 3, 2015

0304 - Enclosing worlds 2016 conference



Comparative approaches to enclosure phenomena

 12 – 14 OCTOBER, 2016, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal

CONFERENCE PROPOSAL – 1st announcement

 Analogy was always central to archaeological methods and interpretations. It is a powerful tool that has been consecutively criticized and theorized, remaining at the heart of the archaeological practice. Between the large amplitude of the uses of analogy in Archaeology, the cross-culture comparative methods have been shown to be useful to deal with cultural change and the correlations between materiality, human behavior and social organization.

This conference intends to focus on the emergence and development of the European prehistoric enclosures phenomena in the context of a large scale social practice of enclosing expressed by architectures, landscapes and forms of territorial management. It is meant to confront the diversity of the European phenomena between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age with other historical processes of enclosure building developed in other continents and to discuss the social implications and the social roles of such architectures and strategies of space organization.

With this purpose, the conference will reunite case studies from Western and Eastern Europe, Central and Southern Africa and North and South America, stimulating the development of comparative research on this topic and the debate on comparative methodologies, namely regarding the definition of comparable controlled units.

The organization of the meeting will be the responsibility of a partnership between the research group for the Development of Complex Societies of the Interdisciplinary Center for Archaeology and Evolution of Human Behavior (ICArEHB - University of Algarve), the archaeological research department of ERA Arqueologia (NIA-ERA) and the Global Research Program of Perdigões enclosure.

Call for papers is opened until 31 March 2016.
Inscriptions for assistance will be open in October 2015.
Contacts: António Carlos Valera (


Friday, June 26, 2015

0303 – Social implications of monumentality

Some ditched enclosures reveal a significant investment in labor in the building of their structures.

The investment in works of significant amplitude has undeniable social implications. Applying complex systems theory to social developments shows us that the higher is the scale of the task and the number of persons involved the harder is the consensual decision and the management of the enterprise, implicating the emergence of leading persons or groups. So, we might agree that, enterprises that require significant amount of work and investment, inherently require specific forms of leadership in the decision and implementation processes. The archaeological data available for the large ditched enclosures of the 3rd millennium BC in Alentejo region would have implicated the development of stronger leaderships that would have initiated processes of social competition and created needs for differential forms of consumption and social display that fed the increase of circulation of the exotic materials obtained through long distance interchange networks. In other words, these large sites of social aggregation seem to have implied the development of social segregation. And if, as Churchill argued, we shape our buildings and our buildings shape us, this is not just true at an individual level, but also at a society level: the development of a monumental architecture during this period was not simply a response to ongoing social changes, but actively contributed to conform and induce them in a trajectory towards social competition and inequality. 

But to what extent did this social path developed in the region during the 3rd millennium BC? This is the question that has had significant different answers, in a debate that clearly shows the influence of the present theoretical frames in the constructions of the past.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

0302 - The possible enclosure of Mercador

Excavated in the beginning of this century, Mercador (Mourão, Évora) revealed a segment of a stone feature that seems to correspond to the base of a wall that would define and enclosure with a diameter estimated in 14m.

Plan of the segment of the stone structure with estimation of diameter (Valera, 2013)
The site, dated from Chalcolithic, had a posterior occupation during the middle ages that was responsible for the dismounting of some of the previous structures.

Projection of the possible enclosure (Valera, 2013)

The eventual enclosure corresponded to the second phase of the occupation of the site and was located in the extremity of a plane top of a smooth rise, facing the valley of the Guadiana river. Outside two circular stone houses connected by a small wall were recorded. The chronology for this phase is from the second half of the 3rd millennium BC, roughly contemporaneous of the second phase of the Porto das Carretas (just 1,5 km away), where there are similar constructions of stone houses (interpreted as towers by the excavators) associated to bell beaker pottery.

Plan of the stone houses (Valera, 2013).
Bibliographic References:
Valera, A.C. (2013), As comunidades agropastoris na margem esquerda do Guadiana. 2ª metade do IV aos inícios do II milénio AC., Memórias d' Odiana, 2ª Série, 6, Edia.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

0301 – Perceptions

Santa Vitória. The first ditched enclosure identified in Portugal. Excavated in open area.

I just came back from Kiel (Germany) were I participated in a congress dedicated to Neolithic landscapes and monumentality.

There I heard that until 2000 there was an inadequate methodological approach to ditched enclosures in Iberia: just small sections; no open area and geophysical approaches; no perception of the real nature of the sites. That to explain the Iberian isolation to what is happening in the rest of Western Europe regarding enclosures.

There was an isolation all right. But that has nothing to do with methods, for they were already here for long. In Portugal, open area approaches were done to walled enclosures since the middle of the XX century, although without much accuracy. But since the sixties, eighties and nineties, we observe them all over Portugal, according to modern record procedures (Zambujal, Santa Justa, Monte da Tumba, Castelo Velho, Castro de Santiago, Fraga da Pena, etc. stand as examples).

Furthermore, the first ditched enclosure detected in Portugal, Santa Vitória, was excavated in open area and submitted to geophysics in the beginning of the eighties, as was the walled and ditched enclosure of Monte da Ponte.

And the lack of contact with European archaeology is also just partially a reason: the German Archaeological Institute worked (and works) in Iberia for long, American, French and English archaeologist have been related to Iberian research since the eighties.

The reasons are maybe others:

a)      The late appearance of ditched enclosures in Portugal (and in general in Iberia);

b)      The fact that Iberian countries were the last dictatorships to be rolled out of western Europe, a fact that clearly conditioned the previous and subsequent theoretical developments of History and Archaeology in Iberian countries and their immediate agendas (to each methods are not independent), that, in the case of post dictatorships,  naturally focus in what was being done until then.

c)      The institutionalization and financing systems of archaeology that emerged after the democratization processes.

The archaeological approaches to Iberian recent prehistory enclosures is a recent issue. Until recently that approach suffered from a certain degree of isolation regarding the European scenario. That is obvious. But that does not allow us to erase the past and the context, and reduce everything to a lack of vision, lack of international contacts and a lack of methods. It is not just the enclosure phenomena that is extraordinary complex.

I agree that the “Archaeology of Enclosures” in Iberia is passing through a process of developments that creates friction, not just with the dominant theoretical approaches, but also with the institutionalized powers that support them. There is a fight, like always was. An antitheses facing the theses. But there is no need to simplify the past to enhance the future.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

0300 - Looking back at Senhora da Alegria

Here is an aerial perspective of the excavation of one of the sectors in Senhora da Alegria (excavations of Omniknos Lda). In this area we have ditches from the Middle Neolithic and a larger ditch dated from the Late Neolithic. It is that larger one that we can see in the image overlapping a smaller one that partially runs beside it. This important site shows us a sequence of ditch construction that, with periods of abandonment, covers a significant part of the Neolithic, since the second half of the 6th millennium BC until the late 4th millennium BC. The monographic publication of the excavations will take some time. It is a complex site with a great deal of archaeological materials. The importance of the site, though, will oblige to some extra commitment.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

0299 – A new one (of two)

Today, just a few hours before giving a talk about large ditched enclosures in the Lisbon Society of Geography through a collaboration with Era Arqueologia, I identified two new ones in Alentejo while I was locating, in Google Earth, some emergency excavations done in the context of Edia water supply network.

Here is the bigger one. Not one of the largest (it has about 2,2 ha “only”), but quite near to two larger ones (Salvada and Monte das Cabeceiras) that are already too close to each other.

It looks that there is an internal enclosure with a wavy ditch and a double ditch defining an outside enclosure.

I do not know yet the chronologies of these new site, but the density of ditched enclosures around Beja is amazing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

0298 - Salvada enclosure

Will be one of the ditched enclosures addressed in my next conference in May 20th at Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

0297 - In front of the gate

At Perdigões, in front of the gate identified in Ditch 10, by the outside, there are several pits. All of them are of small depth (no more than 15 cm), except one, that is larger. It is not yet totally excavated, so we do not know its depth and all that is inside it.

However, the top layers present interesting depositions.

In the top deposit there was this ceramic “idol”.

Just below it, a complete vessel lays in a “bed” of stones.  

And in the next layer a perfect half of a plate was deposited.

Again, intentionality is easily recognized here as is the importance of parts and wholes.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

0296 – Large ditched enclosures in Guadiana basin

A group of large ditched enclosures in the Middle Guadiana basin, an assemblage that is emerging from old and recent research, is rising quite interesting questions regarding the territorial organization in the 3rd millennium BC and the theoretical tools used to address it.

The complexity of Monte da Contenda. One of the sites to be discussed.

In May 20 I will be presenting, in the context of ERA meetings in Lisbon in collaboration with the Lisbon Society of Geography , a talk about the implications of this new “territorial perception” to the social organization of Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic communities in Southwest Iberia.

Large ditched enclosures like Monte da Contenda, Perdigões, Porto Torrão, Monte das Cabeceiras, Salvada, Herdade da Corte will be specifically addressed.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

0295 – PhD on Alcalar enclosure

It was recently presented a PhD thesis about Alacalar enclosure (Portimão, South Portugal) by Elena Morán entitled “Alcalar, organização do território e processo de formação de um estado prístino V-III milenio a.n.e.)” (Alcalar, territorial organization and formation process of a pristine state V-III millennium BC). It was presented at the Department of Prehistory of the Geography and History Faculty of Seville University.

Monday, April 20, 2015

0294 – Visiting Perdigões enclosure

In 2013, in the context of an archaeological meeting in Évora, a small group of participants visited Prdigões enclosure. In this photo, where the winter solstice orientation is being pointed out by me, we can recognize Primitiva Bueno, Rodrigo Balbín, Luc Laporte, Chris Scarre and Rosa Barroso Bermejo. 

The Perdigões Research Program is always pleased to receive visits from colleagues and other interested persons. This year excavation will be from 20 July to 15 August, so if you are interested in visiting please contact the Nia-Era department ( or

Monday, April 13, 2015

0293 - Structured depositions inside ditches

Structured deposition inside ditch 3 in Perdigões enclosure.

Is something that it is obvious in many situations and less in others. The difficulties of recognition are basically related to the fact that the logic presiding to the depositions has to be accessible by our own rationality. But different criteria and different categories of organizing the world do not make the task an ease one. Meaning is hard to establish, particularly in Prehistoric archaeology. So, many just argue that we should not attempt to interpret, while more or less inadvertently keep projecting familiar meanings into past contexts.

But, in fact, sometimes it is undeniable that there was an intention of communicating an idea or to practice an action expected to interfere with the course of events. That is the case of a particular deposition inside ditch 3 of Perdigões enclosure.

A tubular ceramic object, usually associated to the practice of copper metallurgy (used to introduce air into the ovens to arouse the fire), was deposited standing between two river pebbles. The composition, we might argue, corresponds to a phallic representation and suggests an association between masculinity (expressed by the phallus) and metallurgy (expressed by that specific object and its specific use in kipping and renewing the fire).

This is just one more specifically symbolic expression that was recorded inside a ditch in Perdigões. An intentional deposition easily recognizable by our categorization patterns. Others, however, are not so easily recognized by present perceptions and tend to be relegated to the “trash can”.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

0292 - Easter

There is no Easter without a rabbit. Here is the one from Perdigões ditched enclosure.

Friday, April 3, 2015

0291 - Just 2km away from Monte da Tumba...

Image of the excavated section of the ditch (photo by Tiago Nunes)

…walled enclosure dated from the Chalcolithic a new ditched site was discovered and a section of a ditch was excavated by Era Arqueologia (for Edia S.A.). It is a relatively small ditch where some manual pottery and faunal remains were recovered. The pottery is constituted only by simple hemi spherical bowls. Bones will be used for obtain radiocarbon dates in order to determine the chronology of this structure. Nearby there are several pits or hypogea with persevered human remains (but with chronology still uncertain). This is one of the most western ditched site in Alentejo, right in the limits of the geological border with the sandier lands of the Portuguese littoral platform.   

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

0290 – Perdigões interactions

Next week the exogenous materials of Perdigões complex of enclosures and the interaction networks that they traduce will be presented in Madrid. Results of research developed by several researchers from several institutions that collaborate with the Global Program of Archaeological Research of Perdigões coordinated by Era Arqueologia. The presentation will be in the context of the workshop "Key Resources and Socio-cultural Developments in the Iberian Chalcolithic" to be held in the German Archaeological Institute of Madrid and University of Alcalá de Henares.

Research on items made of ivory, cinnabar, limestone and marble, variscite and sea shells or large flint blades, bell beaker and other stiles of pottery will be discussed.

0289 - Visiting Santa Vitória

In the context of the congress organized by Era Arqueologia in 2012, held in Gulbenkian, Lisbon, and dedicated to debate the Recent Prehistoric Enclosures and Funerary Practices in Europe, a field trip was organized and Santa Vitória ditched enclosure was visited by the participants.

Part of the group. In the picture we can identify Alasdair Whittle, Niels Andersen and Alex Gibson. All with relevant work in European enclosures.
Perspective from the tower of observation of Santa Vitoria enclosure. That horizon was hiding a surprise.

At the time we did not suspected of the incredible complex of enclosures that was just behind that horizon line: Monte da Contenda.

Magnetogram of Monte da Contenda, just 3,5 km from Santa Vitória.

A paper about the preliminary data on this important complex of enclosures is in press in the Estudos Arqueológicos de Oeiras journal.

Monday, March 30, 2015

0288 - Visiting Fraga da Pena

A group of german archaeologists and students of Archaeology (headed by Michael Kunst and guided by me) visiting the Fraga da Pena walled enclosure in 2008.

Some took some risks to photograph a painting preserved in one of the rocks of the granitic tor.

Friday, March 20, 2015

0287 – Paper on enclosures of Coelheira 2

It has just got out the paper on the Coelhrira 2 ditched enclosures. 

Plan of the ditched enclosures of Coelheira 2.

Here is the abstract:

“The present paper presents the results of a rescue archaeological excavation done by Omniknos Company for EDIA S.A. in the context of the water supply network of Alqueva dam. In this intervention two small ditched enclosures, one possible hypogeum and several pits were identified, the majority dating from the Chalcolithic, as well as two cists dating from Bronze Age. The several features are characterized in their morphology and fillings and a typological study of pottery is presented. In the end some issues regarding the Recent Prehistory small circular enclosures (in which the two of Coelheira 2 can be integrated) that are appearing in Alentejo region are analyzed.”

The paper can be downloaded here.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

0286 - Excavations at Perdigões enclosure

The pre applications for participating in 2015 Perdigões archaeological excavations promoted by ERA Arqueologia are open. The application file can be download at

Information about the participation conditions and time schedules are in that file (in Portuguese. If information in English is needed please request it by mail to

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

0285 - They keep appearing

Some possible new ditched enclosures were identified in Google Earth.

Sub-circular enclosure in Mourão municipality.

One seems to correspond to a single ditch enclosure, while the other site seems to present a larger circular enclosure and nearby two more, of smaller size: one possible sinuous ditch slightly overlapped by a small double ditched circular enclosure in the west side.

Possible assemblage of enclosures at north of Beja.

This situation of proximity of different enclosures is becoming more frequent, and a paper that documents that situation through excavation is just coming out (Valera, Ramos e Castanheira, 2015). Situations that probably document the periodic use of a same area with a successive abandonment and construction of enclosures.


Valera, A.C., Ramos, R. e Castanehira, P. (2015), “Os recintos de fossos de Coelheira 2 (Santa Vitória, Beja)”, Apontamentos de Arqueologia e Património, 10, Lisboa, NIA-ERA, p.33-45.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

0284 - Combining Google with field work

At Horta Nova 4 it was possible to excavate part of a ditch (by Era Company, for EDIA S.A.). Now, when we overlap the drawing and the (treated) Google image we can perceive the enclosure. And just 50 meters SE there is the small one also detected in the image of Bing Maps (and initially confused with the one in excavation, that is bigger).

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

0283 – Horta Nova 4

Recut section of the ditch.

The excavation of the ditched enclosure of Horta Nova 4 (Alvito) continues. The evidences of recuttings are several now, but not all present the same characteristics.

The site is located in a top of a smooth hill, just over the confluence of two streams. Through a satellite image we can see that it is a sub-circular enclosure, with more than one ditch. 

The smooth hill where the enclosure is located.

Two treated aerial images where another possible enclosure can be perceived just next to the fields division.

Monday, March 2, 2015

0282 – Excavating a small ditch enclosure

Today I was helping to define a recutting of the ditch sediments in a restricted area, filled with small stones, at Horta Nova 4 (excavations of Era Arqueologia SA for Edia SA.). A practice there is present in several ditched enclosures, that can only be recorded correctly when the approach is in area and not through small sections. The fact that a large trajectory of the ditch is affected helps this approach.

Some pottery sherds indicate that this recutting is from Late Neolithic.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

0281 – Iberian causewayed enclosures

Middle Douro valley enclosures (taken from Delibes et al. 2014).

A relatively recent publication presents a synthesis about ditched enclosures in the middle Douro valley, in central-north Iberia. Also there the phenomena of enclosures revealed itself with great intensity in the last years.

But one of the most interesting aspects of this new set of ditched enclosures is that they are almost all causewayed enclosures, quite similar to the ones known in the rest of Europe.

This type of enclosures was not yet discovered in Portugal. Maybe in the future some may be detected in Beira Alta or Trás-os-Montes, in the areas that mark the western limits of the north Meseta. But, so far, the Portuguese enclosures are quite different and in the Guadiana basin they tend to privilege the sinuous patterns, side by side with linear layouts.

This shows us how the same general phenomena may be expressed in different ways in regions that are not that far away.  


G. Delibes de Castro, M. Garcia Garcia, J.Olmo Martín, J. Santiago Pardo (2014), Recintos de fosos calcolíticos del vale médio del Duero. Universidad de Valladolid.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

0280 - Another one...

… found in the context of Alqueva water supply network. Here you can see how difficult it can be, sometimes, to detect a negative structure of this type: a darker spot, with some charcoals, a fragment of a Pecten maximus shell, corresponds to the filling of a ditch crossed by the trench open to receive the water tube.

It is, again, located in the Sado basin, in a peripheral zone to the concentration of ditched enclosures in Alentejo. They are slowly appearing in more western areas in the region. I have to update the enclosures map.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

0279 - A new one in excavation

The new ditched enclosure, with a gate in first plan.

A new ditched enclosure is being worked by Era in Alentejo. The water supply network of Alqueva is crossing another enclosure and a segment of a ditch will be excavated soon. It is a small ditch, defining an apparently circular enclosure located in a small elevation over a stream. It is located in the western limits of the distribution of enclosures in Alentejo, where some other ditched enclosures have been recently discovered by enterprises and by aerial photos, enlarging the number of ditched enclosure known in the Sado river basin.

Friday, January 16, 2015

0278 - The importance of building.

One of the theories about the social role of enclosures, namely ditched enclosures, is the importance of the building process. Since Evens that the focus on the importance of building itself became a matter of discussion regarding the interpretation of the social role of enclosures. The general idea was that the main social role of the project was performed during the building process, rather than after. Some criticizing of this centered perspective in the building process has been done (for instance Whittle in a recent paper), but the criticism is more about the “centered” than about the “perspective”. In fact, the focus on the building process of enclosures, ditched or walled, is something to be taken into consideration in the understanding of their social role. Let me give you a contemporary example to explain this point.
You are all familiar with the Amish communities in America. And some of you are familiar with their traditions. Some of them have been displayed by the cinema or by television programs. They tend to show the importance of community work. One example is that presented by the Hollywood film (I think is called The Witness) with Harrison Ford. There is a couple that marries and the community joins up to build them a barn. 

When the barn was being build, all the community was there, working together, reinforcing there social bonds and identity, performing their traditions, communicating and perpetuating their world views. It was a social event of structural importance for the community as a whole; after being built, the barn was useful only to the married couple. So, the building process was socially and ideologically meaningful for the community and once the structure was finished it was only economically meaningful for a specific family.  This exemplifies, I think, the social importance of building.
The building processes are essential to understand the social role of enclosures. However, that doesn’t mean that we have to imagine, as for our example of the Amish barn, that we have a first construction phase of communal interest followed by a use phase of restricted interest. The long temporalities of some ditched enclosures and the evidences of continued constructions (new ditches, recutting of ditch filling, sometimes during long chronologies, like in Perdigões) show that there is not an easy separation between a period of building and a period of use.

The merit of this approach to building processes is precisely that: building is already using in social and symbolic terms. In fact, the social, ideological, economic role of building stars in the moment of its idealization and design and continues during building/using phases. A perspective that have been absent from the traditional theoretical approaches to enclosures in Portugal (and in Iberia).

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

0277 – A ditch for a palisade

This is how the filling of a ditch for a palisade looks like. 

A level of stones and others of clay by the interior and the dark sediment in the outside part of the ditch, where the wood must have been. And practically no archaeological materials inside. It is Coelheira 3, near Santa Vitória, Beja, South Portugal. Excavated by the company Omniknos  (for EDIA), it will be published soon in Apontamentos de Arqueologia e Património nº10, 2015.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

0276 - Published


The times and timings of enclosures
Alasdair Whittle

Enclosures &burial in Middle &Late Neolithic Britain
Alex Gibson

The place of human remains anf Funerary practices in Recent Neolithic ditched and
walled enclosures in the West of France (IV-III Mill. BC)
Audrey Blanchard, Jean-Noël Guyodo, Ludovic Soler

Funerary practices and body manipulation at Neolithic and Chalcolithic Perdigões ditched
enclosures (South Portugal)
António Carlos Valera, Ana Maria Silva, Claudia Cunha, Lucy Shaw Evangelista

Skeletons in the ditch: funerary activity in ditched enclosures of Porto Torrão (Ferreira do
Alentejo, Beja)
Filipa Rodrigues

Enclosures and funerary practices: about an archaeology in search for the symbolic
dimension of social relations.
Susana Oliveira Jorge

Human Bones from Chalcolithic Walled Enclosures of Portuguese Estremadura:
The Examples of Zambujal and Leceia
Michael Kunst, João Luís Cardoso, Anna Waterman

Human sacrifices with cannibalistic practices in a pit enclosure? The extraordinary early
Neolithic site of Herxheim (Palatinate, Germany)
Andrea Zeeb-Lanz

Gendered burials at an henge-like enclosure near Magdeburg, central Germany: a tale of
revenge and ritual killing?
André Spatzier Marcus Stecher, Kurt W. Alt. François Bertemes

The Copper age ditched settlement at Conelle de Arcevia (Central Italy)
Alberto Cazzella, Giulia Recchia

Funerary practices in the ditched enclosures of Camino de las Yeseras: Ritual, Temporal
and Spatial Diversity
Patrícia Rios, Corina Liesau, Concepción Blasco

Recent Prehistory enclosures & funerary practices
José Enrique Márquez Romero, Vítor Jímenez Jaímez

Thursday, December 4, 2014

0275 - Back to V.N. de São Pedro

Today I was in a conference where a new project on the mythical Portuguese site of Vila Nova de São Pedro (VNSP) was presented. As known, VNSP is a walled enclosure that, with Los Millares, gave name to an archaeological culture in the times of archaeological cultures.

The project, to be developed by the Portuguese Archaeologists Association, was presented today and aims to revalue the site in scientific terms and promote its public assessment.
One interesting aspect of the project is that it seems to incorporate some of the new theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches that have been responsible for a revolution in South Portugal regarding the enclosures phenomena.

In my own words, I would say that this was urgently needed in the approaches to enclosures in Portuguese Estremadura. Based in the new data and new theoretical approaches that have been developed in south Portugal, new insights may be developed regarding walled enclosures in the region and in the re-reading of old texts about old excavations.

In this path, it seems that, in old reports, descriptions of previous ditches to the walled architectures, possibly opened to be rapidly filled with symbolic depositions, are now “emerging” due to the new awareness. The possibility of ditched structures previous to stone walls in VNSP is now on the table, just by reading old texts with “new eyes”.

The approach to Estremadura walled enclosures was needing a refreshment in the scientific enquiries. That was obvious for some time now. So I sincerely hope that this new project develops the adequate inquiry, builds a solid theoretical background and manage to obtain the adequate resources to bring VNSP back to the stage, to actually contribute to the debate on the passionate phenomena of recent prehistory enclosures.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

0274 - Cremation contexts of Perdigões enclosure

Data and problems raised by the contexts with remains of human cremations will be presented next December, 15, in Lisbon (Sociedade de Geografia).