In archaeology , EARTHWORKS are artificial changes in land level, typically made from piles of artificially placed or sculpted rocks and soil. Earthworks can themselves be archaeological features , or they can show features beneath the surface.
* 1 Types * 2 Size * 3 Detection * 4 Interpretation * 5 Examples * 6 Gallery * 7 Notes * 8 References
Earthworks of interest to archaeologists include hill forts , henges , mounds , platform mounds , effigy mounds , enclosures , long barrows , tumuli , ridge and furrow , mottes , round barrows , and other tombs .
* Hill forts , a type of fort made out of mostly earth and other natural materials including sand, straw, and water, were built as early as the late Stone Age and were built more frequently during the Bronze Age and Iron Age as a means of protection. See also Oppidum . * Henge earthworks are those that consist of a flat area of earth in a circular shape that are encircled by a ditch, or several circular ditches, with a bank on the outside of the ditch built with the earth from inside the ditch. They are believed to have been used as monuments for spiritual ritual ceremonies. * A mound is a substantial manmade pile of earth or rocks that was frequently created to mark burial sites * Platform mounds are pyramid or rectangular-shaped mounds that are used to hold a building or temple on top. * An effigy mound is a pile of earth, often very large in scale, that is shaped into the image of a person or animal, often for symbolic or spiritual reasons * An enclosure is a space that is surrounded by an earthwork. * Long barrows are oblong-shaped mounds that are used for burials. * A TUMULUS or BARROW is a mound of earth created over a tomb. * A cross dyke or cross-ridge dyke is a bank and ditch, or sometimes a ditch between two banks, that crosses a ridge or spur of high ground. Found in Europe and often belonging to the later Bronze Age or Iron Age. Often marked on Ordnance Survey maps in the UK. * Ridge and furrows are sets of parallel depressions and ridges in the ground formed primarily through historic farming techniques. * Mottes are mound structures made of earth and stone that once held castles. They are an important part of the motte-and-bailey castle , a castle design during early Norman times in which the castle is built on the motte, and surrounded by a ditch and a bailey , which is an enclosure with a stone wall. * A round barrow is a mound that is in a rounded shape that was used during Neolithic times as a burial mound. * Geoglyph , a large design or motif
Earthworks can vary in height from a few centimetres to the size of
Shallow earthworks are often more visible as cropmarks or in aerial photographs if taken when the sun is low in the sky and shadows are more pronounced. Similarly, earthworks may be more visible after a frost or a light dusting of snow.
Earthworks can be detected and plotted using Light Detection and
An accurate survey of the earthworks can enable them to be interpreted without the need for excavation . For example, earthworks from deserted medieval villages can be used to determine the location, size, and layout of lost settlements. Often these earthworks can point to the purpose of such a settlement, as well the context in which it existed.
Earthworks in North America include mounds built by Native Americans
known as the
Mound Builders . Ancient people who lived in the American
Midwest commonly built effigy mounds , which are mounds shaped like
animals (real or imaginary) or people. Possibly the most famous of
these effigy mounds is Serpent
Mound . Located in the
Military earthworks can result in subsequent archaeological
earthworks. Examples include Roman marching forts which can leave
small earthworks. During the
American Civil War
The Steppe Geoglyphs , discovered in 2007 using Google Earth, are an example of Earthworks in Central Asia.
Neolithic long barrow :
Stoney Littleton Long Barrow
* ^ Muir, 77
* ^ Wood, 85–96; see also: excavation
* ^ Scott, Willie. "How Earthwork Forts were Built". Retrieved 13
* ^ "The Definition of a Henge". Retrieved 13 April 2012.
* ^ "Mound". Retrieved 13 April 2012.
* ^ "Platform Mound". Retrieved 13 April 2012.
* ^ "Effigy Mound". Retrieved 13 April 2012.
* ^ "Enclosure". Retrieved 13 April 2012.
* ^ "West Kennet Long Barrow". Retrieved 13 April 2012.
* ^ "Tumulus". Retrieved 13 April 2012.
* ^ Darvill, Timothy (2008). Oxford Concise Dictionary of
Archaeology, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, p.
116. ISBN 978-0-19-953404-3 .
Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger series.
* ^ "Ridge and Furrow". Retrieved 13 April 2012.
* ^ "Motte". Retrieved 13 April 2012.
* ^ "Round Barrow". Retrieved 13 April 2012.
* ^ Wilson, 38
* ^ Aston, 14
* ^ EID; crater beneath canopy
* ^ Taylor, 59–60
* ^ Feder,344
* ^ Feder, 54
* ^ Crystal, Ellie. "Mounds of North America". Retrieved 12 April
* ^ Feder, 54
* ^ Weisman, Brent (1995). "Crystal River: A Ceremonial Mound
Center on the
* Aston, Mick (2002) Interpreting the Landscape, Tempus, ISBN 0-7524-2520-X * Feder, Kenneth (2008) Linking to the Past, 2nd ed., New York: Oxford, ISBN 978-0-19-533117-2 * Muir, Richard (2004) Landscape Encyclopedia, Bollington, Cheshire: Windgather, ISBN 0-9545575-0-6 * Taylor, Christopher (1974) Fieldwork in Medieval Archaeology, London: Batsford, ISBN 0-7134-2850-3 * Wilson, D.R. (2000) Air Photo Interpretation for Archaeologists, 2nd ed., Stroud: Tempus, ISBN 0-7524-1498-4 * Wood, Eric (1975) Collins Field Guide to Archaeology, 4th ed., London: Collins, ISBN 0-00-219168-7
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