In the process of researching and writing this book, I have benefited from the help and advice of many individuals. The following are just a few who contributed in the completion of this book. My deepest academic debt is to Radu Harhoiu from the Archaeological Institute in Bucharest, who guided my training as an archaeologist and encouraged me to think historically about artifacts. It is he who gave me the idea of studying the Slavs in the context of the sixth-century Barbaricum and called my attention to parallel developments in the Carpathian basin and the steppes north of the Black Sea. I am also grateful to Alan Stahl for his interesting criticism and excellent advice on the interpretation of hoards.
I wish to thank Deborah Deliyannis, Lucian Rosu, Allen Zagarell, and Speros Vryonis for their guidance and support. Among the individuals to whom I also owe personal debts of gratitude, I would like to acknowledge Igor Corman, Alexandru Popa, and Ioan Tentiuc from Chişinaău, Anna Kharalambieva from Varna, Ioan Stanciu from Cluj-Napoca, Mihailo Milinković from Belgrade, Vasile Dupoi and Adrian Canache from Bucharest. They all generously gave me encouragement, suggestions, and access to unpublished material. I am also indebted to the American Numismatic Society for its financial assistance during the Summer Seminar of 1995 in New York. I also wish to acknowledge Genevra Kornbluth, Patrick Geary, Larry Wolff, Robert Hayden, and the participants in the University of Michigan conference on vocabularies of identity in Eastern Europe (1998), who expressed their interest in and encouraged me to continue research on the Slavic archaeology and its political use.
Finally, I am immeasurably indebted to my wife Lucia and my daughter Ana, who never let me give up. Without them, this book would not have existed.