The Ancient Slavs: Settlement and Society

By Martin Gojda | Go to book overview

1
The current state of settlement archaeology of the Slavs

The terms 'Slavic archaeology' or 'the archaeology of the (ancient) Slavs' were introduced into historical investigation around the turn of the nineteenth century. Until now it has been traditionally used as a designation for the discipline which is engaged in prospecting, collecting, elaborating, analysing and interpreting the remains of early medieval material culture derived from the vast territory which, since the Migration period, has been settled by Slavic ethnic groups. Although critical opinions on the validity of these terms occur sometimes in discussions or in journals it seems probable that in the future no changes will appear in this respect (in favour of, for instance, 'early medieval archaeology' or 'historical archaeology'). Incidentally, it is not an exclusively Eastern-European habit to label single archaeological disciplines after the nations which used to live in a territory during a certain period. Even in Britain the term 'Anglo-Saxon archaeology' or 'the archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England' has been frequently preferred over 'early medieval archaeology'. At this moment it should be stressed that the archaeology of the Slavs coincides, as regards the chronology, with the Anglo-Saxon period in England ( C6-11 AD).

Slavic archaeology is traditionally considered a part of Slavic studies, a comprehensive scientific branch which, with the aid of many subdisciplines, studies the history and culture of Slavic nations. Stimulation to its development was given by the rise of the Enlightenment during the Age of Reason in eighteenth- century Europe. Through the effort of the so-called encyclopaedists, history became a real scientific discipline which followed

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