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Castles as European Phenomena

Towards an international approach to medieval castles in Europe. Contributions to an international and interdisciplinary workshop in Kiel, February 2016

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Edited By Stefan Magnussen and Daniel Kossack

Castle research witnessed a revival in recent years, and new theoretical and methodological approaches have massively changed our perception of medieval castles. But despite the fact that this renaissance is observable all over Europe, research is still mostly subject to regional perspectives. In 2016, a workshop was hosted at Kiel University, Germany, in order to address these recent developments and stimulate international scientific discourse. It was especially designed to provide a platform for young scholars. With its 11 contributions, the volume provides a vivid picture of current castle research in different areas of Europe, from Italy to Latvia and the Levant to Denmark.

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Research on the Evidence of Petty Nobility at a Rural Settlement Site from the Late Medieval Period near Harras in Southern Thuringia

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Clemens Ludwig and Tobias Uhlig

Abstract: During the construction works for flood control facilities, an archaeological site was discovered at the river Werra near Harras, an administrative district of Hildburghausen in 2013. Archaeological records showed that this site was used from the Neolithic period onwards, but the main occupation phase could be dated to the late medieval period, comprising an open settlement and the stone foundation of a representative building. Some of the finds, as well as the architecture of the stone feature and traces of an early tile oven, possibly indicate an elevated status of the inhabitants. This leads to the question: How far can archaeological records be used as indicators of “noble” status during the late medieval period?

The area bordering the upper Werra River between the cities of Eisfeld in the east and Hildburghausen in the west has rarely been touched by research of medieval archaeology due to the lack of known sites.1 On the other hand, written sources and toponyms testify very distinct developments of the cultural landscape from early medieval Frankish land consolidation, which was continued on a small scale by the local nobility up to the high and late medieval period.2 However even though some archaeological sites or traces and relics were known, they were not consequently published.3 The knowledge concerning the local medieval settlement landscape is therefore limited and based only on few exceptional case studies. This biased state of research begins to change due to the results of...

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