Similar or dissimilar – remarks on formal analysis of defensive structures based on digital terrain models. Example of earthworks strongholds and castles from Silesia, Poland

Maria Legut-Pintal, Paweł Rajski



This paper is a result of the project “From a stronghold to a castle – new methods and research perspectives”, whose main goal was the creation of documentation (altitude plans, shaded digital terrain models, profiles) for archaeological sites with preserved terrain form. Basing on the digital terrain model (DTM) from airborne scanning data, documentation for ca. 200 archaeological sites (mostly early medieval strongholds, castles and early modern fortification) was created. The documentation consist of nearly 1400 visualisations. Basing on this material, some attempts of formal analyses were made. It was possible to observe groups of “similar” sites. The project has inspired a discussion about the possibilities of building a model of a typical form of defensive structures in the early and high medieval period and to ask questions about the cause of observed similarities and differences. Despite limitations of the method and the poor level of archaeological recognition of many objects, it seems that correlations between the form and profile of fortifications and their chronology is clearly visible.

Full article view is only available on bigger screens.