[Image: From “Baffles and Bastions: The Universal Features of Fortifications” by Lawrence H. Keeley, Marisa Fontana, and Russell Quick, courtesy of the Journal of Archaeological Research (5 March 2007)].
In a paper called “Baffles and Bastions,” published in the Journal of Archaeological Research, anthropologists Lawrence H. Keeley, Marisa Fontana, and Russell Quick offer a detailed history of militarized building design features such as “V-sectioned ditches, defended gates, and bastions.”
All of the features they subsequently analyze occur at peripheries, borders, and thresholds. In their own words, “the militarily functional ditch and gate features and bastions discussed below, in fact and by definition, are all distinguished by being part of enceintes (that is, surrounding barriers or enclosures). Enceintes are barriers that prevent access to and, almost always, obscure vision of a particular location.”
Their diagrams of “baffled” entryways, seen above, are particularly interesting—a kind of archaeological variation on floor plan porn—revealing the various techniques used to at fortified points of entry to gain an advantage over invaders. Through a navigational encounter with architecture, attackers are forced to show their vulnerabilities. “Baffled gates force attackers who enter them to expose their flanks and rear to defenders’ fire,” the authors write. “Ideally, they require attackers to turn left exposing their unshielded right side. Left-turning baffles also were useful against (typically) right-handed bowmen.”