Earthworks (archaeology)

Earthwork called in archeology a ground monument of ditches, ramparts and palisades, if necessary, the latter being above ground no longer be recognized or be demonstrated. Earthworks can fixtures made ​​of wood or stone include ( but represented only by an excavation to clarify is ) and go only partly due to fortifications.

In modern earthwork fortification called a backfill of earth attachment.

Possible function

  • Attachment or fortified residence of an elite ( " Manor " )
  • Fortified settlement
  • Viehkraal
  • Rally Point
  • Ritual center
  • Astronomical system
  • " Taboo place "



Earthworks appear with the Linear Pottery Culture 5500 BC in Central Europe. You are in Eilsleben (Saxony- Anhalt) has been the oldest ceramic band, but especially in the late Linear Pottery common:

  • Darion (Belgium )
  • Erkelenz - Kückhoven (Nordrhein- Westfalen)
  • Esbeck (Lower Saxony)
  • Hanau- Mittelbuchen (Hessen)
  • Heilbronn- Neckargartach (Baden- Württemberg)
  • Cologne - Lindenthal (Nordrhein- Westfalen)
  • Bore 3, 8 and 9 ( Nordrhein-Westfalen)
  • Schletz ( Austria )
  • Vaihingen an der Enz ( Baden- Württemberg)

Currently, almost 100 earthworks are occupied. Because the number in Germany accounts for more than 60 the lion's share, the low numbers in Austria (4 ), Belgium ( 6 ), France ( 4) Hungary (2 ), Netherlands (3) and Czech Republic ( 4) might go on gaps in research back. Show excavations in Herxheim near Landau ( Rhineland -Palatinate ) and in Rosheim (Alsace ) that the grave systems of these earthworks were interrupted and consisted of pits, which were successively excavated and filled with organic or other material including human bones and earth. Therefore, a cultic interpretation is possible. Earthworks show an internal buildings as in Vaihingen an der Enz ( LBK ) or are almost empty fund ( LW9 ). Your mine works had only a short period of use.

Middle Neolithic

In the Stroked Pottery circle grave plants were built with mostly four holes and pile settlement over a relatively short period of time. Well-known examples are Künzing sub (Bavaria ) and the circular grave system of Goseck (Saxony -Anhalt). Even the carriers of culture Rössen built earthworks.


Previously the broken earthworks of Michel Berger culture have been interpreted as defensive structures or livestock enclosure. The earthworks of Michel Berger culture, Chasséen or the British Early Neolithic have numerous interruptions, which makes them appear to be unsuitable as a defense. However, researchers such as Dixon interpret the interruptions as sally ports and refer to the numerous finds of arrowheads, for example in Crickley Hill, as evidence of fortification function.

The Funnel Beaker culture built 4000-3500 BC earthworks in northern Germany. 4 Of the known in 1996, 31 earthworks of the Funnel Beaker culture are located in Schleswig -Holstein, one in Lower Saxony and one in Sweden. The 25 Danish plants spread across Jutland (11 ), Zealand (7) and Funen (4). The one located on Als, Bornholm and Langeland.

Iron Age

The late Iron Age Viereckschanzen (4th - 2nd century BC) are interpreted as a court or places of worship.

British Isles

In the British Isles the following Erdwerktypen exist:

  • Causewayed enclosures
  • Henges, such as Avebury and Durrington Walls
  • Promontory forts; Height mounts that adapt to most form of hills or spurs (Section Wall )
  • Referred to in Ireland Rath systems are sometimes very small, and which in some parts of the country dry stone walls. In total there are more than 35,000 copies.