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Late La Tene oppida in West and Central Europe

Vandemoortele, Kathleen 2011. Late La Tene oppida in West and Central Europe. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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This dissertation examined the significance of Late La Tene oppida in the contemporary society. The study questioned the validity of five common assumptions on oppida. First, the highly debated interpretation of oppida as urban settlements. Second, the related assumption that oppida had economic and political central functions over the region. Third, the assumed dependence of the oppida on the Mediterranean. Fourth, the common view that Late La Tene society was hierarchical and led by an hereditary elite. Finally, it questioned the fact that the oppidum is seen as a static, fixed concept. I intended to deconstruct these assumptions, and to find an alternative interpretation of the oppidum that valued the specific character of society and settlement. To achieve this aim, I analysed three oppida and focussed on evidence for urban features, central functions, contacts with the Mediterranean and social hierarchy. The selected sites are different in form and geographical location in order to examine the heterogeneity of the concept oppidum. The site analyses revealed that oppida were not urban settlements in the sense of the idealised Mediterranean city and that they did not exercise central place functions over the region. An oppidum was basically the focal point for the region. It was the central meeting place and the common arena. The oppidum had the potential to develop as regional market place and fair ground, and as major sacred place for communal ritual activities. The society was not led by an aristocratic elite class. The oppidum was not a centre that controlled the region. It was a place where the region controlled itself. It was an integral part of the dynamic and continuous settlement evolution in the Iron Age.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
ISBN: 9781303196478
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:30

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