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'Stoning and Fire' at Hillfort Entrances of Southern Britain

Michael Avery
World Archaeology
Vol. 18, No. 2, Weaponry and Warfare (Oct., 1986), pp. 216-230
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/124616
Page Count: 15
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'Stoning and Fire' at Hillfort Entrances of Southern Britain
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Abstract

Hillfort defences of southern Britain divide into the wall-and-fill forts of the Hallstatt period and the Low Dump and High Dump forts of the La Tene period. The earlier entrances tend to be short, narrow and timber-lined, with gate-houses: like wall-and-fill forts, they responded to tactics of attack with sword, spear and axe, designed to batter in the gate. They protected the aristocratic heirs of the heroic warrior society of the Later Bronze Age. The later entrances, at the great bi- and tri-vallate hillforts of Wessex and the Welsh Marches, tend to be long and stone-lined, with projecting passages instead of gate-houses. They developed in response to specialised tactics of attack by 'stoning and fire' and the threat of organised mass armies. Their hillforts were not urban settlements, but hill-top refuges into which whole communities huddled in terror from the ravaging armies of neighbouring clans.

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