Plan of Castanheiro do Vento walled enclosures (after Vale, 2008-9, adapted)
Location: Vila Nova de Foz Côa municipality, Guarda district, Beira Alta, North Portugal)
Bibliographic references: (see W.E. Bibliography )
Castanheiro do Vento has been excavated for several years now and has already a long list of published papers. The research leading team is from Oporto University, basically the same that excavated Castelo Velho de Freixo de Numão, just a few kilometres away.
Castelo Velho was used to question the traditional interpretation of these sites as fortified settlements of sedentary agrarian communities and to introduce interpretations that were long developed for ditched enclosures in Europe in the context of post processual approaches. Castanheiro do Vento is being used to developed further a “deconstructive archaeology”.
Functionalism is considered absolutely inadequate to address the architecture of the site, seen as a form of permanent writing and completely involved with human experiences, practices and paths that help to structure.
We could say that these approaches tend to considerer more important the action of permanent building and rebuilding, experiences and pathways than the actual built structure. As if the sites were living beings in action. As if they were members of the groups and cement to their identity, through bringing them together in a place.
Some of the same ideas were also developed by me at Fraga da Pena and Castro de Santiago. And most of them have a great potential for the hermeneutics of these sites (walled or ditched). But if strict functionalism might not be the most adequate approach to deal with these places, that doesn’t imply that function should be put out of the equation and that we substitute one homology by another. Enclosures shared ideas and goals, but also were certainly diversified in purposes.