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The Layout and Internal Development of Celtic Fields: Structural and Relative Chronological Analyses of Three Danish Field Systems

  • Nina Helt Nielsen (a1) (a2), Mads Kähler Holst (a1) (a3), Ann Catherine Gadd (a4) and Klaus Kähler Holst (a5)
Abstract

The layout and development of field systems may reflect significant aspects of prehistoric societies such as agricultural strategies, use rights and inheritance practices. This article presents a method for analysing the developments of field systems in their entirety, based on a hierarchical sorting of field boundaries whose intersections have been used to define relations of equivalence and subordination. The formalized relational expression of the field system is analysed using a stochastic optimization algorithm. The method was successfully applied to three Danish Celtic fields from the Late Bronze/Early Iron Age, making it possible to identify five principles behind the layout: primary boundaries (probably established at community level), major parcels (administered at a household level), structured subdivisions (presumably related to inheritance), irregular subdivisions, and small-scale expansions of the field systems. The initial degree of regularity of the field systems seems to have influenced later modifications.

La configuration et l’évolution des « champs celtiques » peuvent révéler des aspects importants des sociétés préhistoriques telles que les stratégies de production agricole, les droits d'utilisation et les coutumes concernant les héritages. Cet article présente une méthode permettant d'analyser l’évolution des « champs celtiques » dans leur intégralité, sur la base d'un classement hiérarchique des limites de parcelles dont les intersections ont été utilisées pour définir leurs relations d’équivalence et de subordination. L'analyse de l'expression relationnelle formalisée du parcellaire se fait grâce à un algorithme d'optimisation stochastique. Cette méthode a été appliquée avec succès à trois « champs celtiques » au Danemark datant de la fin de l’âge du Bronze et du début de l’âge du Fer, ce qui nous a permis d'identifier cinq principes régissant la configuration des champs : limites primaires (probablement établies par les communautés), parcelles majeures (gérées au niveau des foyers), découpage structuré (vraisemblablement lié au patrimoine héréditaire), subdivisions irrégulières et croissance à petite échelle du système parcellaire. Le degré de régularité à l'origine de l'aménagement du terrain semble avoir influencé les modifications ultérieures. Translation by Madeleine Hummler

Der Aufbau und die Entwicklung von Ackersystemen können wesentliche Aspekte der urgeschichtlichen Gesellschaften, wie landwirtschaftliche Strategien, Landnutzungsgerechte oder Erbvorgänge zum Vorschein bringen. In diesem Artikel wird eine Methode, welche zur Untersuchung der Entwicklung von ganzen Ackersystemen beitragen kann; vorgelegt sie stützt sich auf die hierarchische Sortierung der Feldgrenzen, deren Kreuzungspunkte zur Bestimmung von Äquivalenzbeziehungen und Unterordnungsverhältnisse dienen. Der formalisierte Vergleichsausdruck der Flursysteme wird durch einen stochastischen Optimierungsalgorithmus analysiert. Diese Methode wurde erfolgreich zur Auswertung von drei dänischen spätbronzezeitlichen und früheisenzeitlichen Ackersystemen angewendet; dabei war es möglich fünf Grundregeln, welche die Anlage von Äckern bestimmen, zu identifizieren: vorrangige Grenzen (wahrscheinlich von Gemeinschaften eingerichtet), wesentliche Grundstücke (auf Haushaltsebene betrieben), strukturierte Untergliederung (vermutlich mit Erbschaft verbunden), unregelmäßige Unterteilungen, und Erweiterung der Flursysteme auf geringem Maβe. Die ursprüngliche Regelmäßigkeit der Ackersysteme scheint die späteren Änderungen beeinflusst zu haben. Translation by Madeleine Hummler

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