The Rise of Medieval Towns and States in East Central Europe

Early Medieval Centres as Social and Economic Systems

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This book is a contribution to efforts to understand the transformation that took place across the European continent, and in particular East Central Europe, during the second half of the first millennium. Its goal is to draw conclusions primarily on the basis of the archaeological evidence from important early medieval centres. A special emphasis is given to Pohansko near Břeclav (Czech Republic), perhaps the best studied centre of its kind in the entire region. In terms of methodology the book marks a new attempt to interlink a number of proven methodological tools used in western archaeology from the 1970’s, to new questions related to a cognitive approach to archaeology and the positivist tradition of Central European archaeology.

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Biographical Note

Jiří Macháček, Ph.D. (1971) in Nové Město na Moravě (Czech Republic), is Associate Professor at Masaryk University, Brno. He has published on medieval archeology and computer applications in archeology. He is winner of the 2006 Otto Gründler Travel Award (WMU Kalamazoo).

Table of contents

List of Illustrations ... ix
Abbreviations ... xix
Acknowledgements ... xxi

Chapter One Introduction ... 1

Chapter Two Methodology ... 7
2.1 The archaeological method ... 9
2.1.1 Depositional and post-depositional processes ... 9
2.1.2 Archaeological records in formal space ... 13
2.1.3 The archaeological record in geographic space ... 22
2.2 Systems theory in archaeology ... 25

Chapter Three Pohansko Near Břeclav—A Preliminary Model ... 33
3.1 The history of research at Pohansko ... 33
3.2 The source base and the current state of research ... 37
3.3 Pohansko near Břeclav—preliminary interpretation models ... 61

Chapter Four Excavation in the Forest Nursery at Pohansko ... 65
4.1 Settlement features from the Forest Nursery—analysis and synthesis of their formal structure ... 67
4.1.1 Sunken-floored settlement features ... 68
4.1.2 Above-ground settlement features in the Forest Nursery ... 92
4.2 Chronological framing of the settlement in the Forest Nursery ... 112
4.2.1 Relative chronology—analysis and synthesis of the formal structures of pottery assemblages ... 114
4.2.2 Absolute chronology—dendrochronology ... 201
4.3 Artefacts other than pottery from the Forest Nursery—analysis and synthesis of the formal structures ... 208
4.3.1 Analysis of artefacts other than pottery and a formalized descriptive system ... 208
4.3.2 Synthesis of the formal structures from the assemblages with artefacts other than pottery ... 222
4.3.3 Validation of formal structures ... 235
4.3.4 Spatial arrangement of formal structures ... 283
4.3.5 Interpretation ... 284
4.4 Graves from the Forest Nursery ... 306
4.4.1 Analysis of graves and the formalized descriptive system ... 307
4.4.2 Synthesis of the formal structures of the graves ... 308
4.4.3 Validation of formal structures ... 311
4.4.4 Spatial distribution of the graves ... 328
4.4.5 Interpretation ... 334
4.5 Spatial structure of the settlement in the Forest Nursery and the dynamics of its development in the context of the settlement-planning concept of the early medieval centre at Pohansko ... 343
4.5.1 Spatial structures in the Forest Nursery at Pohansko ... 345
4.5.2 Validation of the spatial structures ... 353
4.5.3 Interpretation ... 381

Chapter Five The Early Medieval Centre as a System ... 431
5.1 System definition ... 432
5.2 The population and settlement subsystem ... 433
5.3 The subsistence subsystem ... 436
5.4 The craft technology subsystem ... 441
5.5 The social subsystem ... 445
5.6 The projective and symbolic subsystem ... 449
5.7 The trade and communication subsystem ... 454
5.8 System inputs and outputs ... 461
5.9 The multiplier effect in action and the interaction between the subsystems ... 467

Chapter Six The Early Medieval Centre—Models and Interpretation ... 473
6.1 The munitio model ... 474
6.2 The palatium model ... 478
6.3 The emporium model ... 484
6.4 Model comparison and interpretation ... 506

Chapter Seven Conclusion ... 519

Bibliography ... 539
General Index ... 557

Readership

Historians, archaeologists as well as those interested in the emergence of the mediaeval civilization on a continental scale.

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