Session: #463

Theme & Session Format

5. Assembling archaeological theory and the archaeological sciences
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

What Really Was a Castle?: Widening the Horizons of Interdisciplinary Interpretation
Past scholars have discussed the unresolved contemporary definition of ‘castle’, generally resorting to the ill-defined ‘private fortified residence of a lord’ for a variety of elite residences, fortified buildings and associated landscapes - including earthwork, timber and masonry fortifications, palaces, manor houses, crenellated church towers and hunting lodges.
Contemporary archaeological research across Europe, however, is now widening the research horizons of current academic disciplines, to include not only Archaeology, but also History; Medieval Literature; Linguistics; Landscape History and Archaeology; Architecture; Digital Humanities. This innovative research approach opens up new debate on what really was a castle? Through emerging research on medieval fortifications, new interpretations will be proposed for the contemporary meaning(s) of scribed words such as castrum, castellum, and domus defensibilis, all commonly translated by later international generations as simply ‘castle.’
Exploring the interplay between archaeological theory and the archaeological sciences, as well as examining the ebb and flow of various theoretical currents and analytical approaches, our session provides the opportunity to come to a better understanding of our shared human past. To revive debate and shed light on this particular problem, we welcome paper proposals of archaeological research aiming to widen the horizons of past castle interpretation in a new, multi-disciplinary and cross-period way.
castles, medieval, archaeology, architecture, history, linguistics
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
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Session associated with other:
University of Liverpool and Department of Medieval Latin of the Institute of Polish Language, the Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków


Main organiser:
Rachel Swallow (United Kingdom) 1,2
Michał Rzepiela (Poland) 3
1. University of Liverpool
2. University of Chester
3. Department of Medieval Latin of the Institute of Polish Language, the Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków