Wednesday, May 25, 2011
0013 - Enclosures: centers of convergence
As I was saying, our knowledge of the enclosure phenomenon in South Portugal is changing quickly. But this development is still basically unknown abroad, especially outside the Iberian Peninsula. In fact, we can say that Spain is in the same boat, if we consider the map presented above.
It is a map from the times when Perdigões was discovered. It shows that the enclosure phenomenon is of European scale, but the Iberian Peninsula is almost a desert. Well, at the time (1997), and in Portugal, lots of other walled enclosures were already known. So de map was quite outdated.
But as the numbers of enclosures (and archaeological work on the matter) were growing, especially regarding ditched enclosures, we kept seeing the same European map with a desert Iberia published again and again.
What does this signify? Basically, it represents the low level of internationalization of the Portuguese Archaeology of Recent Prehistory, despite its internal developments over the last 25 years.
In a way, we seem to be enclosed. Not in a way of some Neolithic enclosures, that were meant to aggregate, but in a very insular manner. Fortunately, things have been changing in the last years and Portugal is definitely on the path of joining the “prehistoric European community”. And enclosures are an issue that can contribute to this journey, renewing presently, not without irony, one of their main functions in the process of bringing people together.
The European maps will be progressively updated. In fact, maps like the one above don’t just represent distributions of archaeological sites. They represent much more. They talk about the past but also a lot about the present.