Institute of Archaeology


Monumentality and Landscape: Linear Earthworks in Britain

This novel project seeks to understand how and why human societies chose to delineate landscape in monumental form. It engages directly with a current key theme in social science: understanding the interface between local communities’ organisational capacity and the development of large-scale polities.

The project will compare - for the first time in Britain - the two periods when tangible large-scale territoriality was expressed in the form of extensive linear earthworks: the Iron Age and the early middle ages.This fundamental shift in human behaviour and political identity has deep resonances for understanding ‘state’ formation in cross-cultural settings.

The project will provide a monument corpus with interpretative case studies with which to understand the shaping of the British landscape. It will significantly enhance the resources of both regional Historic Environment Records (HERs) and national heritage agencies Cadw, Historic Environment for Scotland (HES) and Historic England (HE). It will act as an exemplar for critically informed, cross-comparative archaeologies by providing new approaches to understanding emerging social complexity in two pre-industrial societies.

Related outputs

  • Moore, T. 2017 ‘Alternatives to urbanism? Reconsidering Oppida and the urban question in Late Iron Age Europe’, Journal of World Prehistory, 30(3), 281–300
  • Moore, T. 2012 ‘Beyond the Oppida: Polyfocal Complexes and Late Iron Age Societies in Southern Britain’, Oxford Journal of Archaeology,31(4), 391–417
  • Reynolds, A., 2013 ‘Archaeological Correlates for Anglo-Saxon Military Activity in Comparative Perspective’, in J. Baker, S. Brookes and A. Reynolds (eds), Landscapes of Defence in the Viking Age. Studies in the Early Middle Ages 28. Turnhout: Brepols, 1-38
  • Reynolds, A. and Langlands, A. 2006 ‘Social Identities on the Macro Scale: A Maximum View of Wansdyke’, in W. Davies, G. Halsall and A. Reynolds (eds), People and Space in the Middle Ages, 300-1300. Studies in the Early Middle Ages 28. Turnhout: Brepols, 13-44


  • Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant