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Challenging models of Late Iron Age urbanism and state formation in Gaul: The Segusiavi territory between 600 BC and AD50

PONROY, COME,VINCENT-MARIE (2014) Challenging models of Late Iron Age urbanism and state formation in Gaul: The Segusiavi territory between 600 BC and AD50. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Since Déchelette's contribution to the discipline, Late Iron Age Europe has been defined as a somewhat culturally unified entity characterized by the rise of a new form of settlement: the oppida. After having first refused to see any evidence supporting the case for the presence of urban characteristics in such settlements (Goudineau 1980), archaeologists now fully acknowledge the development of proto-urbanism within an Iron Age context. Based on the thorough study of important sites such as Alésia, Gergovia, Bibracte, Manching, Stradonice or Kelheim (Collis 1984, Fichtl 2005). A certain emphasis on spectacular sites heavily influenced the way archaeologists have come to understand the nature of oppida as a whole, despite sometimes a lack of tangible data to support their theory. Due to a certain interpretation of the Gallic Wars, the influence of Déchelette's civilisation des oppida and a somewhat outdated concept of urbanism based on classical perspectives, attention was, until relatively recently, only given to oppida – or at least settlements which fitted the typological definition created by archaeologists to characterize this term used by Caesar (e.g. Dehn 1962). And because of their lack of fortifications, and therefore clear evidence of an urban design, open settlements have usually been marginalised and considered as secondary forms of settlements solely characterized by a union of craftsmen (Büschenschutz and Ralston 2012).
The discovery of sites such as Acy-Romance, Sources de l’Yonne in France or Braughing in the UK, has accentuated the complexity within which the rise of proto-urban forms took place. This study aimed to further highlight the need to redefine our terminology regarding urbanisation in order to attempt to fully grasp the way in which the landscape of Late Iron Age Europe dramatically evolved in the second and first centuries BC. The regional study of the Segusiavi territory, via a full catalogue of sites recorded in this region, produced interesting results which could potentially challenge our current models. The study of both the urban and rural trajectories of the Upper Loire Valley confirmed the importance of the La Tène D1/D2 transition as an intense period of instability but reinforced the need to first undertake regional approaches when attempting to discuss the rise of proto-urban forms.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Keywords:Iron Age; Urbanism; State Formation; oppida; Segusiavi; Roanne; Joeuvre; Le-Cret-Chatelard; Feurs; Goincet; Sources de l'Yonne
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2014
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:15 Dec 2014 11:27

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