Befestigte Plätze weltweit – Strongholds of the World 

Interdisziplinäre Vortragsreihe des Marburger Arbeitskreises für europäische Burgenforschung e.V. und der University of Aarhus, research programme "Materials, Culture and Heritage", 2021

Interdisciplinary lecture series of the Marburger Arbeitskreises für europäische Burgenforschung e.V., Germany, and Aarhus University, research programme "Materials, Culture and Heritage", Denmark in 2021 




5th meeting:

When: Friday, February 11, 2022

Entry: 12:30 CET. Begin: 13:00 CET

Topic: Gurness: a new chapter of an old story


Register in advance for this webinar:

When: Friday, February 11, 2022

Entry: 12:30 CET. Begin: 13:00 CET

Topic: Gurness: a new chapter of an old story




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Kevin Kerr BA, Msc


Gurness: A new chapter for an old story 



Among the hundreds of Broch structures in the Atlantic zone of modern Scotland, Gurness stands iconic. The brooding, two-thousand-year-old remains convey a real sense of the strength, power and success of a middle Iron Age community in Orkney. Interpretations have traditionally placed the towers as defensive, acting both as a village refuge and as a deterrent from coastal raids. Modern excavation elsewhere in Orkney, however, is proving that Broch complexes were much more integral to the lives of the communities they served. In this lecture, my aim is to introduce Gurness both as an existing icon of Broch studies but also to highlight its potential as a contributor to new interpretations.


Our speaker

Kevin Kerr BA, Msc

Kerr has been involved in field Archaeology for the last 13 years with the last 6 based on Orkney. He currently works for the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA) as a field archaeologist. Kerr has been heavily involved on most of the major research digs on Orkney and has been the small finds officer for The Cairns Broch excavations since 2016. He is also a seasonal custodian at the Broch of Gurness for Historic Environment Scotland. Kerr currently is completing a Master of Research degree at the UHI based on the findings of excavations at The Cairns and their implications for older excavations such as Gurness.


Strongholds Gurness.pdf






3. meeting:

When: Sep 10, 2021 01:30 PM Copenhagen

Topic: Strongholds of the World III: Coastal Defences of Maharashtra, India


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    Meeting ID: 648 0719 3180

    SIP: 64807193180@ or 64807193180@


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Archana Deshmukh, Pune:


Coastal Defences of Maharashtra, India 


Janjira Fort


This session from our lecture series “Strongholds of the World” will shed light upon the various typologies of defense systems along the western coast of Maharashtra, India, popularly known as Konkan. The components of defense systems comprises of island forts, coastal forts, fortified factories, fortified outposts, archeological remains, historic settlements, historic monuments and other cultural resources which form many complex military coastal cultural landscapes.

The Konkan is a narrow strip of land between the Arabian Sea and the Sahyadri Range famously known as Western Ghats, is not a continuous strip. The spurs of the Sahyadries gradually lose height as they approach the coast, and far in the sea they create islands. A distinctive feature of the coastline and to site varied typology of the built and natural heritage, and its historical, cultural, military, ecological significance within this region is the consequence of human interventions in the past, and testimony to the various cultures, the contribution of defense systems, which evolved and enriched this land. Due to its rich Maritime Tradition, trade and commerce flourished from ancient times.

The maritime forts which were built to guard commercial and territorial interests narrate stories about trade routes, piracy and battles and above all the aspirations of mankind to travel to new territories to better their lives. The forts, therefore, must be seen as the symbols of such aspirations and more specifically as important defense systems and military warfare in terms to understand the growth of this area in terms of cultural resources which includes various typologies of forts, its defense mechanism to protect the boundaries and to mark the territories.  



Janjira Fort


Our Speaker:


Archana Deshmuk is a practicing principal conservation architect of “Nasadeeya” Architecture and conservation firm based in Pune, Maharashtra. She has pursued Architecture degree from Maharashtra and Masters from New Delhi in Architectural Conservation.  She has been in the field for more than twelve years and has worked in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat on various projects related to forts and fortified heritage. She stood a merit student in her masters thesis about Maritime coastal cultural landscape of coastal Maharashtra in 2011. In February 2017 she organized a tour for Fortress group to study forts and fortifications of coastal and western Maharashtra with support of NscFORT, also organized a seminar in collaboration with MTDC, ASI and State Archeology along with various NGO’s working on Forts in Pune, Maharashtra.


Strongholds of the World, Maharashtra.pdf







2. meeting:

When: Thursday, June 24, 2021

Entry: 13:45 PM Copenhagen. Begin: 14:00 PM Copenhagen

Topic: Alexandria’s urban fortifications under Mamluk and Ottoman rule

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H.323: or

Meeting ID: 651 8351 5168

SIP: 65183515168@ or 65183515168@


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Kathrin Machinek, Alexandria, Egypt:


Alexandria’s urban fortifications under Mamluk and Ottoman rule


This session from our lecture series “Strongholds of the World” will shed light upon the defense systems of the Mamluk and Ottoman period Alexandria. Alexandria, Egypt’s main seaport on the Mediterranean shore, was often praised by travelers from the past for its impressive fortifications. Nowadays, only few remnants exist of the former urban defense system, the city walls, forts and watchtowers having almost entirely been demolished in the late 19th century by the rapidly expanding modern city.

As a coastal border town, medieval Alexandria was constantly a target for enemy invasions, thus the various Islamic rulers kept renovating and modernizing the fortifications. After the disastrous raid of Alexandria by the Cypriots in 1365, the Mamluk sultans repaired the damages and established new strongholds. In 1477, the entrance to the Eastern harbor was secured by a new majestic fortress, constructed on the ruins of the famous ancient lighthouse.

After the conquest of Mamluk Egypt by the Ottomans in 1516, Alexandria was located within the territory dominated by the Sublime Porte and therefore less exposed to seaborne attacks. The citizens started to settle outside the city walls between the two harbors and abandoned the old town intra muros. Nevertheless, the Ottoman governors preserved the urban fortifications and added new forts in the harbor zone.



Our Speaker:




Dr. Kathrin Machinek, research engineer at the French CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), is working as a building historian at the Centre d’Études Alexandrines, USR 3134, in Alexandria/ Egypt, under the direction of Dr. Marie-Dominique Nenna. [https://www.cealex.org/le-cealex/annuaire/km/]

She obtained a Phd in architecture at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany: « The Qaitbay fort in Alexandria – History and Architecture of a Mamluk fortress in the urban defense system of Alexandria » [https://publikationen.bibliothek.kit.edu/1000047346]


Research themes:

·        Military history and fortifications of Alexandria

·        Islamic fortifications from the Middle Ages to modern time

·        Medieval and Ottoman Alexandria

·        Mamluk architecture

·        Archaeological excavations at fort Qaitbay and fort Tabiyet Nahassin in Alexandria

·        Features of Pharaonic architecture in Alexandria

Short Bibliography:

K. Machinek 2020, « Deux citernes hypostyles dans le fort Qaitbay (Alexandrie) », in M.-D. Nenna (ed.), Alexandrina 5, ÉtAlex 50, Alexandria, 2020, p. 439-464 (to go to press).

K. Machinek 2018, « Alexandria – Ottoman fortifications in a Mediterranean trading town », Symposium Fortifications of the Ottoman period in the Aegean, Ephorate of Lesbos, 30th October – 31st October 2018, p. 239-250 (to go to press).

K. Machinek 2015, « Aperçu sur les fortifications médiévales d’Alexandrie. Histoire, architecture et archéologie », in M. Eychenne, A. Zouache (ed.), La guerre dans le Proche-Orient: État de la question, lieux communs, nouvelles approches, RAPH 37, Cairo, Damascus, 2015, p. 363-394.

K. Machinek 2014, « Hygiene in islamischen Festungsbauten », in O. Wagener (ed.), Aborte im Mittelalter und der Frühen Neuzeit – Bauforschung, Archäologie, Kulturgeschichte, Studien zur internationalen Architektur- und Kunstgeschichte 117, Petersberg, 2014, p. 292-301.

K. Machinek 2014, Das Fort Qaitbay in Alexandria – Baugeschichte und Architektur einer mamlukischen Hafenfestung im mittelalterlichen Stadtbefestigungssystem von Alexandria, PhD thesis, submitted at the Department of Architecture, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in 2014. 

K. Machinek 2010, « Der Wandel der Stadtbefestigung Alexandrias vom Mittelalter bis in die Gegenwart », in O. Wagener (ed.), vmbringt mit starcken turnen, murn – Ortsbefestigungen im Mittelalter, Beihefte zur Mediaevistik 15, Frankfurt a.M., 2010, p. 431-450.

K. Machinek 2009, Le fort Qaitbay, Les petits guides d’Alexandrie, Alexandria, 2009, edition in English, French and Arabic.




1. meeting:


When: Feb 4, 2021 12:30 PM Copenhagen

Topic: The World Heritage Site of Namhangsanseong - A Military Stronghold in Corea


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    Meeting ID: 618 7465 8438

    SIP: 61874658438@ or 61874658438@



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Namhansanseong, western command post



Namhansanseong was an important military stronghold, as well as an emergency capital, from the 7th Century to the late 19th Century. Namhansanseong was never taken by enemies, though it was witness to several national and international battles throughout its history, and acted as a symbol of the defense of the kingdom with a Buddhist spirit of patriotism. The fortress was constructed by military Buddhist monks and managed for military purposes with 10 temples for the Buddhist monk army (Seungyeong Sachal) which was located inside the fortress for 300 years. The fortress is very meaningful historically and academically, not least because it shows a variety of Korean fortress construction techniques, but also because it bears witness to the exchange of important values of mankind and embodies various intangible values.

Namhansanseong consists of three different landscape components: a military component, a governmental component and a folklore landscape component. Each component is supported by authentic historical materials, and Namhansanseong’s integrity and authenticity were recognized by its inscription as UNESCO World Heritage in 2014.


Namhansanseong is preserved and managed by Gyeonggi-do Namhansanseong World Heritage Centre (NHSS WHC). All measures for conservation management at Namhansanseong are carried out by Gyeonggi-do NHSS WHC in collaboration with the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea, local governments, Namhansanseong Management Committee and Namhansanseong Cultural Heritage Guardians.  


Namhansanseong, west wall


Our Speaker:


PH.D. Doo-Won Cho is an expert on the World Heritage. He has studied in the Republic of Korea and in Germany architecture and monument preservation. He wrote his PH.D. thesis about the royal Korean fortress town Suwon and its historical documentation in the “Hwaseong Seongyeok Uigwe” at the chair of monument preservation of the Otto-Friedrichs-Universität Bamberg, Germany. He is General Secretary from Dec. 2019 of ICOFORT (International Scientific Committee for Fortifications and Military Heritage of ICOMOS) and he was ICOFORT Vice-president (2015–2019). He has worked extensively on the World Heritage Site Management of Korean fortress such as World Heritage Namhansanseong. He is one of team members for the formulation of 'ICOFORT Charter on Fortifications and military heritage(draft)'. Currently, he is an Expert committee member of World Heritage Division for the Cultural Property of Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea since 2017. He is an adjunct professor of the World Heritage Department at the Konkuk University in Seoul 2015–2019. Doo-Won Cho is also member of the Marburger Arbeitskreis für europäische Burgenforschung e.V./Marburg Working Group on European Castle Research.

Doo-Won Cho has been in charge of planning on the cultural policy of the Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation and research on the tentative cultural heritage, intangible cultural heritage and memory of the world of Gyeonggi-do Province, ROK. Otherwise, he is working at the Cultural Heritage team of the Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation and is in charge of World Heritage monitoring, - nomination, - conservation and management on the tentatively selected Sites like DMZ, Bukhansanseong fortress, Doksansanseong fortress etc.


Strongholds of the World.pdf



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