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date: 27 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The Neolithic enclosures of central Europe have been controversially discussed for decades. Generally a combination of ditches, banks and/or palisades, the sizes and potential uses of these constructions vary regionally and over time. This chapter traces the development from the early Neolithic enclosures, generally associated with settlements, to the more formal Middle Neolithic roundels and the monumental enclosures of the Michelsberg and contemporary cultures, with their varied sizes and structural complexity. An overview of the architectural elements of different kinds of enclosure leads to a detailed interpretation of one site, Künzing-Unternberg, to illustrate the biographies and varied social contexts of these sites. This also forms the basis for attempts at recovering ‘natural categories’ of classifying enclosures in the Neolithic, before briefly discussing the range of possible functions.

Keywords: enclosure, earthwork, central Europe, Linearbandkeramik (LBK), Middle Neolithic, roundel/rondel (Kreisgrabenanlage), Michelsberg culture, Künzing-Unternberg, categorization, function

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