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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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Medieval Castles in Latvia – State of Research and Future Perspectives

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Anastasija Ropa

Abstract: Over 100 medieval castles and around 500 early medieval and prehistoric hill forts have been identified as existing at different periods on the territory of Latvia. Many of these sites have been subject to archaeological excavation, careful research and preservation activities from the beginning of the twentieth century until the present day. Most sites of medieval castles and hill forts make their only, often cursory appearance in Latvian scholarly literature. Thus, the history of medieval castles in Latvia is yet to be written. The aim of the present article is to make an overview of previous and current research on the history of medieval castles in Latvia and to suggest approaches to be used in future studies.

Over a 100 medieval castles and around 500 early medieval and prehistoric hill forts have been identified as existing at different periods on the territory of modern Latvia. Many of these sites have been subject to archaeological excavation, careful study and preservation activities, with a handful becoming tourist destinations. While these latter appear in printed and multilingual online guides to Latvia, most sites of medieval castles and hill forts make their only, often cursory appearance in scholarly literature, usually in Latvian. The variety of sites, impediments to access to archaeological and other archival records, linguistic handicaps and lack of financial and scholarly resources contribute to the fact that the history of medieval castles in Latvia is yet to be written. In this article, my aim is...

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