Circular ditches

Circular ditches
Reconstruction of circular ditches at Heldenberg, Lower Austria

About 150 arrangements of prehistoric circular ditches are known to archaeologists spread over Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. Their diameters range from ca. 20 to ca. 130 m, and they date to the 5th millennium BC. Tools, bones, and some artefacts were found in their context. The largest of these arrangements to date was found in Leipzig in the 1990s. Another large find was at the nearby village of Aythra, outside of Leipzig. From finds in the context of these ditches, and associated settlements of longhouses, it was established that they were in use for about 200 years, until roughly 4600 BC.



The people that built these structures are associated with the Linear Ceramic culture. They appear to have lived in communal long houses and subsisted by farming cattle, goats, pigs, and sheep. The structures were built in a stretch of Central European land some 760 km (470 mi) across, over a period of one or two hundred years. They are believed to have migrated into this region during the 6th millennium BC from the plain of the Danube in what is now Hungary and Serbia. They made tools of wood, stone, and bone, and artwork of ceramic and pottery.


An article in the British newspaper The Independent of June 11, 2005 identified these structures as "monumental temples", although there has been no scientific assessment of their purpose.

Pre-Columbian America

Geophysical image depicting the subsurface archaeological footprint of a Great Bend aspect council circle

Similar structures have been identified during excavations of prehistoric sites of Wichita tribe. These structures, called "council circles", occur near the center of these sites, and previous archaeological excavations have suggested they consist of a central patio surrounded by four semisubterranean structures. The function of the council circles is unclear. Waldo Wedel[1] has suggested they may be ceremonial structures, possibly associated with solstice observations. Recent analysis suggests that many non-local artifacts occur exclusively or primarily within council circles, implying the structures were occupied by political and/or ritual leaders of the Great Bend aspect peoples.[2] Other archaeologists leave open the possibility that the council circle earthen works served a defensive role.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Wedel, Waldo (1967). The Council Circles of Central Kansas: Were They Solstice Registers? American Antinquity 32, 54-63
  2. ^ Vehik, Susan C. 2002. Conflict, Trade, and Political Development on the Southern Plains. American Antiquity, 67(1), 37-64
  3. ^ Hollinger, Eric (2005). Conflict and Culture Change in the Late Prehistoric and Early Historic American Midcontinent. Unpublished PhD Dissertation. University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Circular — is a basic geometric shape such as a Circle. Contents 1 Documents 2 Travel and transportation 3 Places …   Wikipedia

  • Circular rampart of Burg — Top of the circular rampart, the interior to the left The circular rampart of Burg (German: Ringwall von Burg) is a defensive work from the Early Middle Ages period located near the German town of Celle in Lower Saxony. The site, dating roughly… …   Wikipedia

  • Stonehenge — /stohn henj/, n. a prehistoric monument on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, England, consisting of a large circle of megaliths surrounding a smaller circle and four massive trilithons; dating to late Neolithic and early Bronze Age times (c1700 1200… …   Universalium

  • Goseck circle — The Goseck circle is a Neolithic structure in Goseck in the Burgenlandkreis district in Saxony Anhalt, Germany. It consists of a set of concentric ditches 75 meters (246 feet) across, and two palisade rings containing gates in defined places. It… …   Wikipedia

  • Neolithic — An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools. Neolithic stone implements are by definition polished and except for specialty items not chipped. The Neolithic …   Wikipedia

  • Henge — s, burials, central mounds, and stakeholes ( [http://www.eng English Heritage definition] ).Because of the defensive impracticalities of an enclosure with an external bank and an internal ditch (rather than vice… …   Wikipedia

  • Neolithic Europe — Map showing the Neolithic expansions from the 7th to the 5th millennium BC, including the Cardium Culture in blue …   Wikipedia

  • List of circle topics — This list of circle topics includes things related to the geometric shape, either abstractly, as in idealizations studied by geometers, or concretely in physical space. It does not include metaphors like inner circle or circular reasoning in… …   Wikipedia

  • Rainham, London — infobox UK place country = England map type = Greater London region= London population= official name= Rainham constituency westminster= Hornchurch post town= RAINHAM london borough= Havering postcode area= RM postcode district= RM13 dial code=… …   Wikipedia

  • Nebra sky disk — The Nebra Sky Disk. The Nebra Sky Disk is a bronze disk of around 30 cm diameter, with a blue green patina and inlaid with gold symbols. These are interpreted generally as a sun or full moon, a lunar crescent, and stars (including a cluster… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.