Sunday, January 22, 2012

0074 – What’s inside?

Possible reconstitution of the wall of the inside enclosure of Castro de Santiago and of one of the inside huts.

Usually, inside ditched enclosure we only have negative structures, basically constituted by pits. Positive structures are rare or simply nonexistent.

On the contrary, pits are rare in walled enclosures (see here), but positive structures are common (whit some exceptions, such Fraga da Pena). But it is current to find walls or alignments of stones that are usually interpreted as hut infrastructures or stone pavements.

At Castro de Santiago (Beira Alta), inside the inner enclosure, two of those huts were identified where the bedrock makes a sort of basin, and they had central fireplaces built in a hemi hexagonal plan with three slabs.

Hut infrastructures at Castro de Santiago and actual parallel in Africa.

Hut infrastructures at Castro de Santiago.

Although the walled architecture and the use of rock tor formations is similar in Fraga da Pena (just 8 km north in the same valley), the excavations made there didn’t reveal any similar structures inside. Being alike, those two walled enclosures seem to have played different functional roles, although, in terms of social identity management, they might have had similar tasks (as I have argued elsewhere: Valera, 2007).

It is important to notice what’s inside an enclosure and what’s missing to start to give them names. Structures, material cultural, social practices evidences, etc. He must “built” contexts first. So, when we have a surface evidence of a stone wall or a geophysical image of ditches, we must be careful in interpretation. If the general plan of the architecture of an enclosure could give us enough information to develop some analysis and propose some interpretation and develop some ideas, the cases of Castro de Santiago and Fraga da Pena remember us that similar general architectures could enclosure quite different contexts.

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