What is a Glasis Rampart?; Jordan Codices, Jordan; Tumba Madžari, Macedonia

What is a Glasis Rampart?

A Glasis rampart is an artificial slope leading up to a fortification. They were used in prehistory during the 4th century BC and onward, as defences for hillforts in Britain, but also by other cultures, such as the Egyptians and Romans.

Maiden Castle Dorchester © Ray Beer.
Maiden Castle Dorchester
© Ray Beer.

The above image shows a glasis rampart at Maiden Castle hillfort in Britain. They were constructed of earth, and in later periods, in stone. Some were earth but with a stone facing. They were used to strengthen walls and as the above image shows, they were also placed on top of other ramparts to give improved protection to sites.

The slope of the rampart was usually around 30-45 degrees, and the only real maintenance they required was the clearing out of the ditches below them. This was undertaken on an annual basis, with the silt from the bottom of the ditch being thrown down the outside of the slope, sometimes resulting in a counterscarp.

The ramparts at Maiden Castle are the best example of  prehistoric glasis rampart and the largest would have been 25.5m from the top to the bottom of the ditch – very impressive – especially when you understand that these were all constructed by hand!

Prehistory is a period where amazing feats of work, like this, were undertaken, and even today we marvel at how they were able to build such amazing works of defence with only their hands!


  • Allcroft. A. H. 1908. Earthwork of England. London: Macmillan and Co.
  • Cunliffe. B. 2010. Iron Age Communities in Britain. Oxon: Routledge.
  • Williams. G. 1993. The Iron Age Hillforts of England: A Visitors Guide. Malvern: Horace Books.
  • Maiden Castle, Dorchester – Ray Beer. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maiden_Castle,_Dorchester..jpg



Archaeology Wow!! – Jordan Codices, Jordan

The Jordan Codices are a group of metal books that were discovered in Jordan. These particular codices are the center of a controversy as to whether they are fake or authentic and this debate is still raging today.

Jordan Lead Codice ©David Elkington
Jordan Lead Codice
©David Elkington

In 2011 the Jewish Chronicle reported a story relating to the discovery of 20 metal books, codices, that had been disclosed by a man stating they had been uncovered over a century earlier, but kept by the family who had found them.

The codices were apparently found along with tablets, scrolls, an incense bowl and other artefacts, and the leather with them was radiocarbon dated and this dated to the 1st century. The codices themselves are made of copper and lead and have text and illustrations upon them. They were at first considered to be more important than the Dead Sea Scrolls, as they were earlier, and that would have made them the earliest Christian documents to date.

In November 2012, after being examined, it was declared that the codices were fake. That there were a number of different styles of text used and that the languages did not make sense.

Te question as to whether they are fake or original is still being debated. Keep an eye on this one as I believe them to be fake but you never know …………………


  • Corbett. E. 2014. Competitive Archaeology in Jordan: Narrating Identity from the Ottomans to the Hashemites. Texas University of Texas Press.
  • Elkington. D., & Elkington. J. 2014. The Case for the Lead Codices: The Mystery of the Sealed Books. Oxon: Osprey Publishing.



Archaeological Site Guide – Tumba Madžari, Macedonia

Tumba Madžari is a little known but very important site situated in Macedonia, in Europe. It is an early Neolithic site situated just outside of Skopje which had revealed rich finds for the Neolithic period.

The site was first discovered when a motorway was being built in 1961/62, but it was not properly excavated until 1978. by Voislav Sanev of the Museum of Macedonia.

Tumba Madžari  Wiki Commons
Tumba Madžari
Wiki Commons

In 1981 the first house was uncovered and this was a very exciting find. it was constructed of mud, brick, and wood, had evidence of straw covering the roof, measured 8 m x 8 m and was divided into two.  Since the house has been uncovered a number of painted amphorae have also been found, in different sizes, and in one location 45 whole pots were unearthed! The sites economy was based upon agriculture and it appears to have been the cultural center for the region.

The site is beleived to have been part of the Anzabegovo-Vršnik Culture and there is evidence of religion in the form of sculptures also found at the site, representing the Cult of the Great Mother Goddess.

Tumba Madžari Mother Goddess ©www.mythsarehistory.com
Tumba Madžari Mother Goddess

The site dates to between 6000 – 4000 BC with the main peak in occupation being at around 5800 – 5200 BC.

This site is open to the public and well worth a visit. Check out the webpages below to gain more information!



  • Chulev. B. 2015. Proto-Indo-European Aryan Homeland of the GreatMother Goddess: Neolithic village of Tumba Madžari in Macedonia. www.academia.com.
  • Tumba Madžari Archeological Site – http://www.tumbamadzari.org.mk/en/
  • Tumba Madžari – Donco Naumovski (Tumba Madzari) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons



Great Books to Read…….



Great Web Pages to Look At…….


Activity –  word-search-10-april-2015-docx

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