Holstein was settled by Slavics until it was conquered by “Germans” during the 12th century.
This caused a change from the Slavic structures to feudalism, which was based on settlers from old territories in the Holy Roman Empire. Within this process, the lower nobility occupied a special position. They were granted sovereign rights and constituted the basis for a successful change in social, political and economic ways.
Initiated transformation processes in this region are also visualized in the stock of castles. The role of the gentry is reflected in their castles, whose construction made significant contributions to consolidation of power and formation of space.
Castles are not only a visual and structural landmark, they also act as administrative, cultural, social and economic centres. Especially in a landscape where towns developed at the same time as mottes, they probably are of huge importance. Particularly regarding the replacement of Slavic gords by mottes, this period of transition is barely investigated.
Most of these castles are not researched at all and only dated by written sources. So it will be necessary to get more information about the mottes itself to investigate their integration and significance for their surrounding. Therefore it is planned to collect all data about medieval mottes in Holstein. These data persist of old measurements from the 1970s, finds from excavations and surveys, written sources, onomastic studies and ALS-Data. In addition three local areas (not bigger than 5 x 5 km²) shall be investigated to enlighten detailed questions. For this GIS-aided analyses of the areas are planned, as well as taking bore-cores, surveys and geophysical prospections.