domingo, 9 de março de 2014

0009 – Constructing the temporality of Perdigões enclosure

A paper was recently published on Perdigões temporalities. It can be download here.

Based in a set of 35 radiocarbon dates, an image of progressive growing of the site is emerging. Starting with to central enclosures dating from Late Neolithic (second half of the 4th millennium), grew bigger with the intermediate wavy ditches dated from the second quarter of the 3rd millennium and finally with construction of the ditch 1 in the topo of the amphitheater slope in the second half of the 3rd millennium.

However, this image of a progressing growing must be seen as provisory, since several ditches still to be dated, namely the one that runs partially out of ditch 1 and is cut by it. If this ditch is older, Neolithic for instance, than the site was big since the beginning.

This is an important step into the Perdigões temporalities, but is still just a step. Further research is needed to provide a complete image of the diachronic development of this impressive set of enclosures 

2 comentários:

  1. That's a most informative paper, thanks. After reading so much at Valera's blog on Perdigoes and other similar enclosures, all I could do was to scratch my head about their function. However visualizing Perdigoes in its historical sequence seems to help a lot: it's not anymore just a messy array of ditches and fills but a historical and social process, with a growth facet to it.

    Particularly interesting seems to be the cromlech (I'm assuming it means a stone ring). I would really love to know more about it: structure, dimensions, dating if known. But it reminds me of the residual historical relevance of similar structures in the Basque Country, where they are much more recent (Iron Age) but seem to have played a role as community meeting point (not inside the cromlech but near it).

    Whatever the meaning of the stone ring (a possibility would be that each stone represents a clan or family and the ring the community), it seems to me that it was the main monumental reference here and therefore the ditched enclosure was a social (and surely also ritual) space for the often moving herders to meet, maybe at some specific dates of the year or maybe in wider periods of seasonal gathering.

    This pastoralist relationship (in the Pyrenees cromlechs are quite clearly related to pastoralism too) may explain the lack of housing findings, assuming that they used tents or some sort of provisional huts made of organic materials. The enclosure would act as some sort of "plaza" but they would probably raise their tents or huts outside it, maybe at some distance.

    Of course, I don't want push any interpretation but that's what dawned to me as I read the paper. Very much arguable, I guess.

    I insist that the cromlech is particularly intriguing and interesting on its own right in any case. AFAIK there are not so many stone rings in Europe so early in time and they are also a very distinctive cultural trait. So I would love to know something more about it, really.

  2. The cromech is very destroied, but it was probably a circle or oval one. We will be excavating there in the next years, to establish its chronology and plan. So far, we do not have many information, unless that it had at list 8 or 9 monolithyc stones and that a few are still in place. My opinion is that it might be contemporaneous of the older ditches (the Late Neolithic ones). But we will see. As to the ditched enclosures, yes, they problably were a meeting place.