Castles are one of the most visible and imposing reminders of our medieval past. The ruins we see now are, however, the result of dynamic changes over the course of the middle ages and later periods, reflecting significant developments in society, culture, politics and military technology. In this module, you will investigate the place of castles in medieval society through a range of sources including documents, historical writing, literary sources and archaeology and architecture. You will consider in particular how scholars of the middle ages have shifted from seeing these buildings as purely military installations to a more complex understanding of their social, political and symbolic functions. Topics you will cover may include: the early years of castle study, castle design and technologies, the castle in war, allegorical ideas of the castle, the castle as residence, economic centre, symbol of lordship and site of cultural contact.