Published on Aug 9, 2020

Sunrise Hills Background Images

License Info: Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC

A hill is a landform that extends above the surrounding terrain. It often has a distinct summit, although in areas with scarp or dip topography a hill may refer to the particular section of flat terrain without a massive summit (notably Box Hill, Surrey).

The distinction between a hill and a mountain is unclear and largely subjective, but a hill is universally considered to be less tall and less steep than a mountain.

Many settlements were originally built on hills, either to avoid floods (particularly if they were near a large body of water), or for defense (since they offer a good view of the surrounding land and require would-be attackers to fight uphill), or to avoid densely forested areas. For example, Ancient Rome was built on seven hills, protecting it from invaders.

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Some settlements, particularly in the Middle East, are located on artificial hills consisting of debris (particularly mud bricks) that has accumulated over many generations. Such a location is known as a “tell”.

In northern Europe, many ancient monuments are sited in heaps. Some of these are defensive structures (such as the hill-forts of the Iron Age), but others appear to have hardly any significance. In Britain, many churches at the tops of hills are thought to have been built on the sites of earlier pagan holy places. The National Cathedral in Washington, DC has followed this tradition and was built on the highest hill in that city.

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