Dutch Water Line
The Dutch Water Line was a series of water-based defences conceived by Maurice of Nassau in the early 17th century, realised by his half brother Frederick Henry. Combined with natural bodies of water, the Water Line could be used to transform Holland into an island. In the 19th century, the Line was extended to include Utrecht. Early in the Eighty Years' War of Independence against Spain, the Dutch realized that flooding low-lying areas formed an excellent defence against enemy troops; this was demonstrated, for example, during the Siege of Leiden in 1574. In the latter half of the war, when the province of Holland had been freed of Spanish troops, Maurice of Nassau planned to defend it with a line of flooded land protected by fortresses that ran from the Zuiderzee down to the river Waal. In 1629, Prince Frederick Henry started the execution of the plan. Sluices were constructed in dikes and forts and fortified towns were created at strategic points along the line with guns covering the dikes that traversed the water line.
The water level in the flooded areas was maintained at a level deep enough to make an advance on foot precarious and shallow enough to rule out effective use of boats. Under the water level additional obstacles like ditches and trous de loup were hidden; the trees lining the dikes that formed the only roads through the line could be turned into abatis in time of war. In wintertime the water level could be manipulated to weaken ice covering, while the ice itself could be used when broken up to form further obstacles that would expose advancing troops to fire from the defenders for longer; the Dutch Water Line proved its value less than forty years after its construction during the Franco-Dutch War, when it stopped the armies of Louis XIV from conquering Holland, although the freezing over of the line came close to rendering it useless. In 1794 and 1795, the revolutionary French armies overcame the obstacle posed by the Dutch Water Line only by the heavy frost that had frozen the flooded areas solid.
After the final defeat of Napoleon in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo, the United Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed. Soon after King William I decided to modernise the Water Line; the Water Line was shifted east of Utrecht. In the next 100 years the main Dutch defence line would be the new Water Line, it was further extended and modernised in the 19th century, with forts containing round gun towers reminiscent of Martello towers. The line was mobilised but never attacked during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 and World War I. At the advent of World War II, most of the earth and brick fortifications in the Water Line were too vulnerable to modern artillery and bombs to withstand a protracted siege. To remedy this a large number of pillboxes were added. However, the Dutch had decided to use a more eastern main defence line, the Grebbe line, reserved a secondary role for the Water Line; when the Grebbe Line was broken on May 13, the field army was withdrawn to the Water Line. However, modern tactics could circumvent fixed defense lines.
While the Dutch army was fighting a fixed battle at the Grebbe Line, German airborne troops captured the southern approaches into the heart of "Fortress Holland" by surprise — the key points being the bridges at Moerdijk and Rotterdam. When resistance did not cease, the Germans forced the Dutch into surrender by aerial bombing of Rotterdam, threatening the same for Utrecht and Amsterdam. From its conception in 1815, until the last modernisation in 1940, around 50 billion Euro was spent on the New Dutch Water Line. After World War II, the Dutch government redesigned the idea of a waterline to counter a possible Soviet invasion; this third version of the Water Line was erected more in Gelderland. In case of an invasion, the water of the Rhine and the Waal were set to divert into the IJssel, flooding the river and bordering lands; the plan was never tested, it was dismantled by the Dutch government in 1964. Today many of the forts are still less intact. There is renewed interest in the waterline for its natural beauty.
Bike tours and hiking paths are organised with the line as a theme. Some of the forts are open for bikers/hikers to stay the night. Others have a variety of uses, for example Utrecht University houses its botanical garden in Fort Hoofddijk. Due to the unique nature of the line, the Dutch government is considering whether to nominate the whole defensive line as a UNESCO world heritage site, as they did with the ring of fortresses around Amsterdam. A 25-year plan has been developed by Agnes Denes. In 2010, one of the forts on the Line, Bunker 599, was opened as a publicly accessible work of art; the bunker was sliced open, with a walkway placed through it forming an installation allowing a view to look into and through the bunker. To protect weaknesses in the waterline a series of forts and fortified towns have been constructed. Order of forts following the line from north to south. Forts explicitly built to defend a town are mentioned with the relevant town between brackets Permanent battery De Westbatterij Castle Muiderslot Fortified town of Muiden Fortified town of Weesp Fort aan de Ossenmarkt Fort Uitermeer Fort Hinderdam Fort Ronduit Foritified town of Naarden Permanent batteries at the Karnemelksloot Fort Uitermeer Fort Kijkuit Fort Spion Fort Nieuwersluis Fort bij Tienhoven Fort aan de Klop Fort de Gagel Fort op de Ruigenhoeksedijk Fort Blauwkapel (Utrecht
An oppidum is a large fortified Iron Age settlement. Oppida are associated with the Celtic late La Tène culture, emerging during the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, spread across Europe, stretching from Britain and Iberia in the west to the edge of the Hungarian plain in the east, they continued to be used until the Romans conquered Western Europe. In regions north of the rivers Danube and Rhine, such as most of Germania, where the populations remained independent from Rome, oppida continued to be used into the 1st century AD. Oppidum is a Latin word meaning the main settlement in any administrative area of ancient Rome, applied more in Latin to smaller urban settlements than cities, equating to "town" in English; the word is derived from the earlier Latin ob-pedum, "enclosed space" from the Proto-Indo-European *pedóm-, "occupied space" or "footprint". In his Commentarii de Bello Gallico, Julius Caesar described the larger Celtic Iron Age settlements he encountered in Gaul during the Gallic Wars in 58 to 52 BC as oppida.
Although he did not explicitly define what features qualified a settlement to be called an oppidum, the main requirements emerge. They were important economic sites, places where goods were produced and traded, sometimes Roman merchants had settled and the Roman legions could obtain supplies, they were political centres, the seat of authorities who made decisions that affected large numbers of people, such as the appointment of Vercingetorix as head of the Gallic revolt in 52 BC. Caesar named 28 oppida. By 2011, only 21 of these had been positively identified by historians and archaeologists: either there was a traceable similarity between the Latin and the modern name of the locality, or excavations had provided the necessary evidence. Most of the places that Caesar called oppida were city-sized fortified settlements. However, for example, was referred to as an oppidum, but no fortifications dating to this period have yet been discovered there. Caesar refers to 20 oppida of the Bituriges and 12 of the Helvetii, twice the number of fortified settlements of these groups known today.
That implies that Caesar counted some unfortified settlements as oppida. A similar ambiguity is in evidence in writing by the Roman historian Livy, who used the word for both fortified and unfortified settlements. In his work Geographia, Ptolemy listed the coordinates of many Celtic settlements. However, research has shown many of the localisations of Ptolemy to be erroneous, making the identification of any modern location with the names he listed uncertain and speculative. An exception to, the oppidum of Brenodurum at Bern, confirmed by an archaeological discovery. In archaeology and prehistory, the term oppida now refers to a category of settlement. In particular, Dehn suggested defining an oppidum by four criteria: Size: The settlement has to have a minimum size, defined by Dehn as 30 hectares. Topography: Most oppida are situated on heights, but some are located on flat areas of land. Fortification: The settlement is surrounded by a wall consisting of three elements: a facade of stone, a wooden construction and an earthen rampart at the back.
Gates are pincer gates. Chronology: The settlement dates from the late Iron Age: the last two centuries BC. In current usage, most definitions of oppida emphasise the presence of fortifications so they are different from undefended farms or settlements and from urban characteristics, marking them as separate from hill forts, they could be referred to as "the first cities north of the Alps". The period of 2nd and 1st centuries BC places them in the period known as La Tène. A notional minimum size of 15 to 25 hectares has been suggested, but, flexible and fortified sites as small as 2 hectares have been described as oppida. However, the term is not always rigorously used, it has been used to refer to any hill fort or circular rampart dating from the La Tène period. One of the effects of the inconsistency in definitions is that it is uncertain how many oppida were built. In European archaeology, the term'oppida' is used more to characterize any fortified prehistoric settlement. For example older hill-top structures like the one at Glauberg have been called oppida.
Such wider use of the term is, for example, common in the Iberian archaeology. The Spanish word'castro' used in English, means a walled settlement or hill fort, this word is used interchangeably with'oppidum' by archaeologists. According to prehistorian John Collis oppida extend as far east as the Hungarian plain where other settlement types take over. Central Spain has sites similar to oppida, but while they share features such as size and defensive ramparts the interior was arranged differently. Oppida feature a wide variety of internal structures, from continuous rows of dwellings to more spaced individual estates; some oppida had internal layouts resembling the insulae of Roman cities. Little is known, about the purpose of any public buildings; the main features of the oppida are the walls and gates, the spacious layout, a commanding view of the surrounding area. The major difference with earlier structures was their much larger size. Earlier hill forts were just a few hectares in
A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, is used to solidify rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from the Latin fortis and facere. From early history to modern times, walls have been necessary for cities to survive in an ever-changing world of invasion and conquest; some settlements in the Indus Valley Civilization were the first small cities to be fortified. In ancient Greece, large stone walls had been built in Mycenaean Greece, such as the ancient site of Mycenae. A Greek phrourion was a fortified collection of buildings used as a military garrison, is the equivalent of the Roman castellum or English fortress; these constructions served the purpose of a watch tower, to guard certain roads and lands that might threaten the kingdom. Though smaller than a real fortress, they acted as a border guard rather than a real strongpoint to watch and maintain the border; the art of setting out a military camp or constructing a fortification traditionally has been called "castrametation" since the time of the Roman legions.
Fortification is divided into two branches: permanent fortification and field fortification. There is an intermediate branch known as semi-permanent fortification. Castles are fortifications which are regarded as being distinct from the generic fort or fortress in that they are a residence of a monarch or noble and command a specific defensive territory. Roman forts and hill forts were the main antecedents of castles in Europe, which emerged in the 9th century in the Carolingian Empire; the Early Middle Ages saw the creation of some towns built around castles. Medieval-style fortifications were made obsolete by the arrival of cannons in the 14th century. Fortifications in the age of black powder evolved into much lower structures with greater use of ditches and earth ramparts that would absorb and disperse the energy of cannon fire. Walls exposed to direct cannon fire were vulnerable, so the walls were sunk into ditches fronted by earth slopes to improve protection; the arrival of explosive shells in the 19th century led to yet another stage in the evolution of fortification.
Star forts did not fare well against the effects of high explosive, the intricate arrangements of bastions, flanking batteries and the constructed lines of fire for the defending cannon could be disrupted by explosive shells. Steel-and-concrete fortifications were common during the early 20th centuries; however the advances in modern warfare since World War I have made large-scale fortifications obsolete in most situations. Demilitarized zones along borders are arguably another type of fortification, although a passive kind, providing a buffer between hostile militaries. Many US military installations are known as forts. Indeed, during the pioneering era of North America, many outposts on the frontiers non-military outposts, were referred to generically as forts. Larger military installations may be called fortresses; the word fortification can refer to the practice of improving an area's defence with defensive works. City walls are fortifications but are not called fortresses; the art of setting out a military camp or constructing a fortification traditionally has been called castrametation since the time of the Roman legions.
The art/science of laying siege to a fortification and of destroying it is called siegecraft or siege warfare and is formally known as poliorcetics. In some texts this latter term applies to the art of building a fortification. Fortification is divided into two branches: permanent fortification and field fortification. Permanent fortifications are erected at leisure, with all the resources that a state can supply of constructive and mechanical skill, are built of enduring materials. Field fortifications—for example breastworks—and known as fieldworks or earthworks, are extemporized by troops in the field assisted by such local labour and tools as may be procurable and with materials that do not require much preparation, such as earth and light timber, or sandbags. An example of field fortification was the construction of Fort Necessity by George Washington in 1754. There is an intermediate branch known as semi-permanent fortification; this is employed when in the course of a campaign it becomes desirable to protect some locality with the best imitation of permanent defences that can be made in a short time, ample resources and skilled civilian labour being available.
An example of this is the construction of Roman forts in England and in other Roman territories where camps were set up with the intention of staying for some time, but not permanently. Castles are fortifications which are regarded as being distinct from the generic fort or fortress in that it describes a residence of a monarch or noble and commands a specific defensive territory. An example of this is the massive medieval castle of Carcassonne. From early history to modern times, walls have been a necessity for many cities. In Bulgaria, near the town of Provadia a walled fortified settlement today called Solnitsata starting from 4700 BC had a diameter of about 300 feet, was home to 350 people living in two-storey houses, was encircled by a fortified wall; the huge walls around the settlement, which were built tall and with stone blocks which are 6 feet high and 4.5 feet thick, make it one of the earliest walled settlements in Europe but it is younger than the walled town of Sesklo in Greece from 6800 BC.
Uruk in ancient Su
A glacis in military engineering is an artificial slope as part of a medieval castle or in early modern fortresses. They may be constructed of earth of stone in more permanent structure. A glacis plate is the sloped front-most section of the hull of a tank or other armoured fighting vehicle. More a glacis is any slope, natural or artificial, which fulfils the above requirements; the etymology of this French word suggests a slope made dangerous with ice, hence the relationship with glacier. A glacis could appear in ancient fortresses, such as the one the ancient Egyptians built at Semna in Nubia. Here it was used by them to prevent enemy siege engines from weakening defensive walls. Hillforts in Britain started to incorporate glacis around 350 BC; those at Maiden Castle, Dorset were 25 metres high. Glacis called talus, were incorporated into medieval fortifications to strengthen the walls against undermining, to hamper escalades and so that missiles dropped from the battlements would ricochet off the glacis into attacking forces.
Towards the end of the medieval period some castles were modified to make them defensible against cannons. Glacis consisting of earthen slopes faced with stones were placed in front of the curtain walls and bastions to absorb the impact of cannon shots or to deflect them. Towers were converted into gun platforms. Early modern European fortresses were so constructed as to keep any potential assailant under the fire of the defenders until the last possible moment. On natural, level ground, troops attacking any high work have a degree of shelter from its fire when close up to it; this gave defenders a direct line of sight into the assaulting force, allowing them to efficiently sweep the field with fire from the parapet. Additionally, but secondarily, the bank of earth would shield the walls from being hit directly by cannon fire. Though defenders on a high ground have a direct line of sight, a glacis allows the field of fire to be swept more efficiently by minimizing changes to the angle of their guns while firing.
Furthermore, the glacis prevents attacking cannon from having a clear shot at the walls of a fortress, as these cannot be seen until the glacis is crossed and the ditch, bounded on either side by the smooth, masoned scarp and counterscarp, is reached. The term glacis plate describes the sloped front-most section of the hull of a tank or other armored fighting vehicle composed of upper and lower halves. In a head-on-head armored engagement, the glacis plate is the largest and most obvious target available to an enemy gunner. Sloped armour has two advantages: many projectiles will deflect rather than penetrate. Anti-tank mines that employ a tilt-rod fuze are designed to detonate directly underneath the glacis plate; as a result, it is the thickest, most robust armored section of a tank, followed by the turret face and gun mantlet. Fortification Siege Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Fortification and siegecraft". Encyclopædia Britannica. 10. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 679–725. Decaëns, Joseph. Caen Castle: A Ten Centuries Old Fortress.
Publications du Crahm. P. 17. ISBN 9782902685752. Dyer, James. Hillforts of England and Wales. Shire Series. 16. Osprey Publishing. P. 19. ISBN 9780747801801. Stokstad, Marilyn. Medieval Castles. Greenwood guides to historic events of the medieval world. Greenwood Publishing Group. P. 84. ISBN 9780313325250
An abatis, abattis, or abbattis is a field fortification consisting of an obstacle formed of the branches of trees laid in a row, with the sharpened tops directed outwards, towards the enemy. The trees are interlaced or tied with wire. Abatis are used alone or in combination with other obstacles. There is evidence it was used as early as the Roman Imperial period, as as the American Civil War. A classic use of an abatis was at the Battle of Carillon during the Seven Years' War; the 3,600 French troops defeated a massive army of 16,000 British and Colonial troops by fronting their defensive positions with an dense abatis. The British found the defences impossible to breach and were forced to withdraw with some 2,600 casualties. Other uses of an abatis can be found at the Battle of the Chateauguay, 26 October 1813, when 1,300 Canadian voltigeurs, under the command of Charles-Michel de Salaberry, defeated an American corps of 4,000 men, or at the Battle of Plattsburgh. An important weakness of abatis, in contrast to barbed wire, is.
If laced together with rope instead of wire, the rope can be quickly destroyed by such fires, after which the abatis can be pulled apart by grappling hooks thrown from a safe distance. An important advantage is that an improvised abatis can be formed in forested areas; this can be done by cutting down a row of trees so that they fall with their tops toward the enemy. An alternative is to place explosives so as to blow the trees down. Abatis are seen nowadays, having been replaced by wire obstacles. However, it may supplement when barbed wire is in short supply. A form of giant abatis, using whole trees instead of branches, can be used as an improvised anti-tank obstacle. Though used by modern conventional military units, abatises are still maintained in United States Army and Marine Corps training. Current US training instructs engineers or other constructors of such obstacles to fell trees, leaving a 1 or 2 yards stump, in such a manner as the trees fall interlocked pointing at a 45-degree angle towards the direction of approach of the enemy.
Furthermore, it is recommended that the trees remain connected to the stumps and the length of roadway covered be at least 80 yards. US military maps record an abatis by use of an inverted "V" with a short line extending from it to the right. Zasechnaya cherta Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier includes large and authentic reproduction of abatis used in the U. S. Civil War
Rail transport is a means of transferring of passengers and goods on wheeled vehicles running on rails known as tracks. It is commonly referred to as train transport. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles run on a prepared flat surface, rail vehicles are directionally guided by the tracks on which they run. Tracks consist of steel rails, installed on ties and ballast, on which the rolling stock fitted with metal wheels, moves. Other variations are possible, such as slab track, where the rails are fastened to a concrete foundation resting on a prepared subsurface. Rolling stock in a rail transport system encounters lower frictional resistance than road vehicles, so passenger and freight cars can be coupled into longer trains; the operation is carried out by a railway company, providing transport between train stations or freight customer facilities. Power is provided by locomotives which either draw electric power from a railway electrification system or produce their own power by diesel engines.
Most tracks are accompanied by a signalling system. Railways are a safe land transport system. Railway transport is capable of high levels of passenger and cargo utilization and energy efficiency, but is less flexible and more capital-intensive than road transport, when lower traffic levels are considered; the oldest known, man/animal-hauled railways date back to the 6th century BC in Greece. Rail transport commenced in mid 16th century in Germany in the form of horse-powered funiculars and wagonways. Modern rail transport commenced with the British development of the steam locomotives in the early 19th century, thus the railway system in Great Britain is the oldest in the world. Built by George Stephenson and his son Robert's company Robert Stephenson and Company, the Locomotion No. 1 is the first steam locomotive to carry passengers on a public rail line, the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825. George Stephenson built the first public inter-city railway line in the world to use only the steam locomotives all the time, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway which opened in 1830.
With steam engines, one could construct mainline railways, which were a key component of the Industrial Revolution. Railways reduced the costs of shipping, allowed for fewer lost goods, compared with water transport, which faced occasional sinking of ships; the change from canals to railways allowed for "national markets" in which prices varied little from city to city. The spread of the railway network and the use of railway timetables, led to the standardisation of time in Britain based on Greenwich Mean Time. Prior to this, major towns and cities varied their local time relative to GMT; the invention and development of the railway in the United Kingdom was one of the most important technological inventions of the 19th century. The world's first underground railway, the Metropolitan Railway, opened in 1863. In the 1880s, electrified trains were introduced, leading to electrification of tramways and rapid transit systems. Starting during the 1940s, the non-electrified railways in most countries had their steam locomotives replaced by diesel-electric locomotives, with the process being complete by the 2000s.
During the 1960s, electrified high-speed railway systems were introduced in Japan and in some other countries. Many countries are in the process of replacing diesel locomotives with electric locomotives due to environmental concerns, a notable example being Switzerland, which has electrified its network. Other forms of guided ground transport outside the traditional railway definitions, such as monorail or maglev, have been tried but have seen limited use. Following a decline after World War II due to competition from cars, rail transport has had a revival in recent decades due to road congestion and rising fuel prices, as well as governments investing in rail as a means of reducing CO2 emissions in the context of concerns about global warming; the history of rail transport began in the 6th century BC in Ancient Greece. It can be divided up into several discrete periods defined by the principal means of track material and motive power used. Evidence indicates that there was 6 to 8.5 km long Diolkos paved trackway, which transported boats across the Isthmus of Corinth in Greece from around 600 BC.
Wheeled vehicles pulled by men and animals ran in grooves in limestone, which provided the track element, preventing the wagons from leaving the intended route. The Diolkos was in use for over 650 years, until at least the 1st century AD; the paved trackways were later built in Roman Egypt. In 1515, Cardinal Matthäus Lang wrote a description of the Reisszug, a funicular railway at the Hohensalzburg Fortress in Austria; the line used wooden rails and a hemp haulage rope and was operated by human or animal power, through a treadwheel. The line still exists and is operational, although in updated form and is the oldest operational railway. Wagonways using wooden rails, hauled by horses, started appearing in the 1550s to facilitate the transport of ore tubs to and from mines, soon became popular in Europe; such an operation was illustrated in Germany in 1556 by Georgius Agricola in his work De re metallica. This line used "Hund" carts with unflanged wheels running on wooden planks and a vertical pin on the truck fitting into the gap between the planks to keep it going the right way.
The miners called the wagons Hunde from the noise. There are many references to their use in central Europe in the 16th century; such a transport system was used by German miners at Cal
A broch is an Iron Age drystone hollow-walled structure found in Scotland. Brochs belong to the classification "complex atlantic roundhouse" devised by Scottish archaeologists in the 1980s, their origin is a matter of some controversy. The word broch is derived from Lowland Scots ` brough'. In the mid-19th century Scottish antiquaries called brochs'burgs', after Old Norse borg, with the same meaning. Place names in Scandinavian Scotland such as Burgawater and Burgan show that Old Norse borg is the older word used for these structures in the north. Brochs are referred to as duns in the west. Antiquarians began to use the spelling broch in the 1870s. A precise definition for the word has proved elusive. Brochs are the most spectacular of a complex class of roundhouse buildings found throughout Atlantic Scotland; the Shetland Amenity Trust lists about 120 sites in Shetland as candidate brochs, while the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland identifies a total of 571 candidate broch sites throughout the country.
Researcher Euan MacKie has proposed a much smaller total for Scotland of 104. The origin of brochs is a subject of continuing research. Sixty years ago most archaeologists believed that brochs regarded as the'castles' of Iron Age chieftains, were built by immigrants, pushed northward after being displaced first by the intrusions of Belgic tribes into what is now southeast England at the end of the second century BC and by the Roman invasion of southern Britain beginning in AD 43, yet there is now little doubt that the hollow-walled broch tower was purely an invention in what is now Scotland. The first of the modern review articles on the subject did not, as is believed, propose that brochs were built by immigrants, but rather that a hybrid culture formed from the blending of a small number of immigrants with the native population of the Hebrides produced them in the first century BC, basing them on earlier, promontory forts; this view contrasted, for example, with that of Sir W. Lindsay Scott, who argued, following Childe, for a wholesale migration into Atlantic Scotland of people from southwest England.
MacKie's theory has fallen from favour too because starting in the 1970s there was a general move in archaeology away from'diffusionist' explanations towards those pointing to indigenous development. Meanwhile, the increasing number – albeit still pitifully few – of radiocarbon dates for the primary use of brochs still suggests that most of the towers were built in the 1st centuries BC and AD. A few may be earlier, notably the one proposed for Old Scatness Broch in Shetland, where a sheep bone dating to 390–200 BC has been reported; the other broch claimed to be older than the 1st century BC is Crosskirk in Caithness, but a recent review of the evidence suggests that it cannot plausibly be assigned a date earlier than the 1st centuries BC/AD The distribution of brochs is centred on northern Scotland. Caithness and the Northern Isles have the densest concentrations, but there are a great many examples in the west of Scotland and the Hebrides. Although concentrated in the northern Highlands and the Islands, a few examples occur in the Borders.
In a c.1560 sketch there appears to be a broch by the river next to Annan Castle in Dumfries and Galloway. This small group of southern brochs has never been satisfactorily explained; the original interpretation of brochs, favoured by nineteenth century antiquarians, was that they were defensive structures, places of refuge for the community and their livestock. They were sometimes regarded as the work of Picts. From the 1930s to the 1960s, archaeologists such as V. Gordon Childe and John Hamilton regarded them as castles where local landowners held sway over a subject population; the castle theory fell from favour among Scottish archaeologists in the 1980s, due to a lack of supporting archaeological evidence. These archaeologists suggested defensibility was never a major concern in the siting of a broch, argued that they may have been the "stately homes" of their time, objects of prestige and visible demonstrations of superiority for important families. Once again, there is a lack of archaeological proof for this reconstruction, the sheer number of brochs, sometimes in places with a lack of good land, makes it problematic.
Brochs' close groupings and profusion in many areas may indeed suggest that they had a defensive or offensive function. Some of them were sited beside precipitous cliffs and were protected by large ramparts, artificial or natural: a good example is at Burland near Gulberwick in Shetland, on a clifftop and cut off from the mainland by huge ditches, they are at key strategic points. In Shetland they sometimes cluster on each side of narrow stretches of water: the broch of Mousa, for instance, is directly opposite another at Burraland in Sandwick. In Orkney there are more than a dozen on the facing shores of Eynhallow Sound, many at the exits and entrances of the great harbour of Scapa Flow. In Sutherland quite a few are placed at the mouths of deep valleys. Writing in 1956 John Stewart suggested that brochs were forts put up by a military society to scan and protect the countryside and seas; some archaeologists consider broch sites individually, doubting that there was a single common purpose for which every broch was constructed.
There are differences betwe