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The current debate surrounding the role of migrations in the late antique and early medieval history of the Europe has written out the eastern part of the Continent. Some deny, while others affirm the existence of migrations in or from the region. Most scholars, however, ignore the existence of a relatively large body of literature written in East Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe on migrations. The relation between written and archaeological sources is the most problematic aspect of the research in the area. Migrations are described in rich conceptual terms, but models of historical migrations do not really fit the archaeological evidence. Migration is used as an explanatory device, and is itself rarely the subject of archaeological investigation. There is yet no sign of the theoretical impact of the recent resurgence of scholarly interest in migration, which has been inspired by concerns with connectivity, colonial studies, postcolonial perspectives, and entangled situations.

Open Access
In: Migration Histories of the Medieval Afroeurasian Transition Zone

Conspicuously absent from 6th to early 7th c. fortified sites in the Balkans are stirrups and other elements of equipment signalling the presence of cavalry troops. Hoards of iron implements containing stirrups have been wrongly dated to Late Antiquity; they are in fact of a much later date (9th–11th c. A.D.). Those hoards which can be dated to the 6th c. with some degree of certainty lack agricultural tools associated with large-scale cultivation of fields. As most such hoards found in Early Byzantine hill-forts typically include tools for the garden-type cultivation of small plots of land, they show that no agricultural occupations could be practised inside or outside 6th c. forts, which could satisfy the needs of the existing population. Those were, therefore, forts, not fortified villages.

In: Late Antique Archaeology


Much has been written on the territory to which the prisoners of war taken from Adrianople in 813 were transferred at the order of Krum, a territory that Scriptor incertus calls “Bulgaria beyond the Danube.” Romanian archaeologists have largely followed the suggestion of Maria Comșa, according to whom, much like the stronghold that she had excavated in Slon, finds of water pipe segments on various sites in Wallachia must be associated with “Bulgaria beyond the Danube,”. Curiously, none of the cemeteries excavated in southern Romania has so far been associated with that territory, but there are clear similarities between them and several cemeteries in southern Transylvania. The number of water pipe segments has meanwhile increased and there is clear indication of a 10th-, not 9th-century, as well as of local production (kilns). No evidence exists, however, of any urban or urban-like site in the lands north of the river Danube, where such water pipe segments may have been needed. The closest sites with extensive water supply systems are Pliska and Preslav. Local communities in Wallachia must have produced water pipe segments to meet the demand in the capital(s) of Bulgaria. Communities in southern Transylvania were linked by different ties to Preslav, as indicated by the large number of weapons deposited in 10th-century graves and especially by the church built within that century at Alba Iulia.

In: Christianization in Early Medieval Transylvania
For most students in medieval studies, Eastern Europe is marginal and East European topics simply exotica. A peculiar form of Orientalism may thus be responsible for the exclusion of the Avars, Bulgars, Khazars, and Cumans from the medieval history of the European continent. This collection of studies is an attempt to stimulate research in a comparative mode and to open up a broader discussion about such key themes as material culture, ethnicity, historical memory, or conversion in the context of social and political developments in early medieval Europe. Another goal of this volume is to introduce a number of new approaches to the study of what is known as “medieval nomads.” Without explicitly rejecting the model of raid vs. trade famously introduced by Anatoly Khazanov, many contributions in this volume shift the emphasis on internal developments that have received until now little or no attention.
Contributors are: Tivadar Vida, Peter Stadler, Péter Somogyi, Uwe Fiedler, Orsolya Heinrich-Tamaska, Bartłomiej Szymon Szmoniewski, Florin Curta, Valeri Iotov, Veselina Vachkova, Tsvetelin Stepanov, Dimitri Korobeinikov, and Victor Spinei.
Winner of the 2020 Verbruggen prize

This book provides a comprehensive synthesis of scholarship on Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages. The goal is to offer an overview of the current state of research and a basic route map for navigating an abundant historiography available in more than 10 different languages. The literature published in English on the medieval history of Eastern Europe—books, chapters, and articles—represents a little more than 11 percent of the historiography. The companion is therefore meant to provide an orientation into the existing literature that may not be available because of linguistic barriers and, in addition, an introductory bibliography in English.

Winner of the 2020 Verbruggen prize, awarded annually by the De Re Militari society for the best book on medieval military history. The awarding committee commented that the book ‘has an enormous range, and yet is exceptionally scholarly with a fine grasp of detail. Its title points to a general history of eastern Europe, but it is dominated by military episodes which make it of the highest value to anybody writing about war and warmaking in this very neglected area of Europe.’

See inside the book.
In: Manufacturing Middle Ages