Early Medieval Defended Communities Across Europe

Early Medieval Defended Communities Across Europe: Fortified Settlements of the Eighth to Tenth Centuries AD

While much archaeological and historical attention goes on the defence of the later Roman world and on the development of medieval castle, too often the intervening early medieval period is overlooked or misunderstood in terms of its settlements, populations and defence. Were defended communities typical in the early Middle Ages? How far was there a direct continuity from late Roman into early medieval in terms of hilltop villages and fortified sites? What new sites emerged and why? Who controlled these sites? How ‘feudal’ were the landscapes of 8th- to 10th-century Europe?

This weekend conference brings together a number of experts who have excavated or studied fortified sites in a variety of kingdoms, polities and regions. We aim to assess how developed our understanding of these sites is, how they were articulated and designed, their contents in terms of populations and structures, and their role in the landscape.

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