Vitrified Forts : appel à contribution pour EAA2017,Maastricht/NL, 30 Août – 3 Sept 2017

Dear colleagues,

We are organising a session dealing with the so-called Vitrified Forts (Session 119) and would kindly ask you to consider contributing to this session by submitting a paper or poster via the conference webpage

Made From Fire and Stone – The Phenomenon of Vitrified Forts

Hillforts enclosed by walls which have been heavily affected by high temperatures that resulted in the stones of their fortifications melting are a phenomenon that is known widely across Europe. To date a few hundred instances of vitrification of diverse dates but mainly from the Iron Age have been proposed in the archaeological record. Since the discovery of the first vitrified fort and its publication by John Williams in 1777 a lively debate has developed as to whether vitrification was a constructional technique designed to strengthen these fortifications, or a process that was the accidental by-product of the destruction by firing of these enclosures. 

The session aims to bring together scholars to discuss the phenomenon of vitrified forts and to exchange ideas and experiences on this topic. A special focus will be given (but is not restricted) to the following aspects:

  • Where in Europe (and further afield) can the phenomenon of vitrified forts be identified?
  • What impact did the geology of the stones used to build the ramparts have on the nature of the vitrification, i.e. did higher temperatures need to be attained successfully to melt particular rock types (e.g. is the process of calcifying limestones comparable)?
  • Are there chronological differences in the presence/absence of vitrified walls in different regions of Europe?
  • Which new results of archaeological observations/fieldwork are available?
  • Do (new) chemical and physical analyses of sites and lab or field experiments support any of the existing interpretations rehearsed above?
Session organisers:
  • Axel G. Posluschny, Research Centre, Keltenwelt am Glauberg (Germany)
  • Benjamin Richter, Institute of Archaeology, Frankfurt University (Germany)
  • Ian Ralston, Edinburgh University (United Kingdom)
Please note: To submit a proposal you first have to login with your conference account (which can be easily created on the conference webpage). The submission module will be open until March 15th.

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