The logics of enclosure: deep-time trajectories in the spread of land tenure boundaries in late prehistoric northern Europe

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Invasive schemes involving the erection of land tenure boundaries are currently spreading quickly across vast areas throughout the globe, turning former unfenced forests and grasslands into closed-off parcels. These processes pose intriguing questions about the deep history of colonizing assemblages consisting of particular tenure practices, temporalities, and technologies, as well as their potential long-term repercussions. This article expands the temporal horizon applied to human-nonhuman configurations, endeavouring to focus beyond the ethnographic present or the event on trajectories as a particular spatial and temporal logic of fencing and the virtuality that ensues. It explores the earliest large-scale spread of land tenure boundaries across northern Europe, a process which occurred between the seventeenth and fifth centuries BCE, several millennia after Neolithization. Significant ebbs and flows in this process demonstrate how fencing exerts pressure on the future, a conspiring of forces and potentialities regarding what may or may not turn into long-term paths towards ever-increasing or enduring boundaries. By applying a 2,000-year timespan to the study of material ontologies, this article explores new interfaces between archaeology and new materialism which reveal the presence of formative yet dynamic processes and quasi-paths.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Pages (from-to)365-388
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas


See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 157813469