Big enclosures: the later Neolithic palisaded enclosures of Scotland in their northwestern European context

Gordon Noble, Kenneth Brophy

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Palisaded enclosures were huge enclosed spaces with timber boundaries found across Britain, Ireland, and Scan- dinavia in the Neolithic. Five such sites have been identified in Scotland dating to the later Neolithic, four of which have been excavated to varying degrees. These sites form the main focus of this paper, which draws in particular on interim results from the authors' excavations at Forteviot, Perth and Kinross, during 2007–2009. The palisaded enclosures of Scotland are part of a wider British and Irish tradition and there are a number of European parallels, the closest of which lie in southern Scandinavia. The palisaded enclosures in Scotland are tightly clustered geographically and chronologically, constructed in the centuries after 2800 cal BC. This paper explores the function, role, and meaning of palisaded enclosures in Scotland and more generally, drawing not just on the architecture of the monuments, but also the individual posts that were used to create the enclosures. The role of these monuments in reconstituting nature is also considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-87
Number of pages28
JournalEuropean Journal of Archaeology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011



  • environment
  • monuments
  • neolithic
  • palisaded enclosures
  • Scotland
  • social order
  • timber

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