Toubert or Not Toubert: Reconciling the Narratives of Incastellamento in Archaeology and Text




Dyer, Ashley E.

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During the Middle Ages, castles spread across the Italian countryside in a process called incastellamento, during which the population moved from dispersed settlements to concentrated and fortified sites atop hills and plateaus. The French historian Pierre Toubert spearheaded intensive study of this phenomenon in 1973 with a landmark work outlining its mechanisms and chronology. However, archaeologists took issue with several of Toubert’s key findings, calling his research into question and exemplifying the inherent tension between textual and material sources. In this thesis, I analyze Toubert’s monumental work and examine archaeological critiques of it. I then formulate my own definition of incastellamento before exploring how it is observed in the archaeological data, using several examples of sites from archaeological excavations and applying the analysis to the ongoing excavation in San Giuliano, Italy. Ultimately, this study acts as an illustration of the importance of interdisciplinary studies in the analysis of archaeological sites moving forward.



History., Archaeology., Castle-building., Settlement patterns.