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A later prehistoric ritual or religious enclosure found in central and western Europe and characterized by a generally square or rectangular plan, an area of less than 1 ha defined by an earthen bank and steep‐sided ditch, and a single entrance. Within the enclosure there may be one or more of the following: pit, shaft, well, standing stone, post‐built structure, hearth, area of burning. Excavated examples range in date from Urnfield contexts of the 12th century bc through to the 1st century bc, some being superseded by Roman‐style temples. Typical examples include Holzhausen in Germany, and Libenice in the Czech Republic. They are generally regarded as sacred enclosures or sanctuaries, but Matthew Murray has argued that in fact they functioned as feasting places.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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