Ring wall

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A ring wall is a ring-shaped rampart that was built for defense as a field fortification or hill fort , for religious reasons and perhaps also as a meeting place.

The origins of these systems stretch from the Neolithic (New Stone Age) up to the Middle Ages .


Typical view of a ring wall in the lowlands today - Wall overgrown by trees in the middle of an arable landscape: Oldenburger Wall near Horst

The characteristic of a ring wall is the wall as the main fortification element. It can be constructed in different ways, as a simple earthfill, as a wood-earth construction up to a wall. Former wood-earth walls, but also those made of stone, can often only be recognized today in the terrain as supposed earth walls. Usually a ring wall had a ditch in front of it ; the wall can be supplemented by a palisade . The builders often erected several concentric ring walls, which made a more effective defense against attackers possible. Upstream systems of a ring wall represent ring section walls and section walls, like on a mountain spur.


Many ring walls were discovered in the Swiss and Lower Austrian Alpine foothills , often in the forest and often through aerial archeology (aerial photos when the sun is flat). Profiles through the facilities and the excavation of the inner surface allow analyzes of the development over time of the fortifications, the ceramics and the food supply of the past.

Chronological order

In the 19th and even in the 20th century, archaeologists often classified ring walls as prehistoric. For some, dating as prehistoric or medieval is difficult based on the shape of the complex alone, if there are no datable finds. Often, however, such systems have now also been recognized as medieval castle sites . In topographic maps , however, they are usually still marked as "ring walls".

Well-known ring walls

Heidenmauer near Bad Dürkheim

See also


  • Arthur Dähn with Susan Möller-Wiering, ring walls and tower hill. Medieval castles in Schleswig-Holstein . Husum Druck- und Verlagsgesellschaft, Husum 1999, ISBN 978-3-88042-850-8 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Ringwall  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations