Lecture from 8th June 2017:

Vlachs from Macedonia in the Medieval Written Sources: Ethnicity and / or Social Category

Ass. Prof. Dr. Toni Filiposki ("Ss. Cyril and Methodius" University, Department of History, Skopje)

Venue: Redemptoristenkolleg Maria am Gestade, Klemenssaal, Salvatorgasse 12, 1010 Vienna
Time: 6pm - 8pm

There are a number of non-sedentary peoples (Vlachs, Albanians, Pechenegs, Cumans, Turks etc.) known in the medieval history of Macedonia. The issue of the origin of the Vlachs is still one of the biggest scholarly enigmas within the Balkan Medieval Studies. However, one should consider the thesis as dominating that remainders of the ancient Romanised Balkan population hide under this name, who at the time of the Great Migration of Peoples and the Slavic settlement (IV–VI centuries) in the Balkans retreated to the mountainous regions and focused their activities on cattle breeding. A particularity of the Vlach ethnic group is its presence in the early medieval times in the wider area of the Balkans. Based on Byzantine, Latin and Slavic sources their presence on the territory of Macedonia during the Middle Ages becomes an undisputed certainty. One can notice that issues related to the significance and content of the ethnonym "Vlachs" have been insufficiently researched in the Balkan Medieval Studies. It seems that the given ethnonym had a double layer of meaning until the 13th/14th centuries, primarily an ethnical and secondly a social one (cattle breeding) which overlapped. However, objective difficulties regarding the ethnonym’s interpretation appeared in the later sources, because the so-called secondary meaning (cattleman) started to dominate. The present paper will outline the respective transformation of the term "Vlach" based on a remarkable variety of sources.

The Vlachs between Settlements and Mountains in Medieval Polog

Prof. Dr. Boban Petrovski ("Ss. Cyril and Methodius" University, Department of History, Skopje)

Venue: Redemptoristenkolleg Maria am Gestade, Klemenssaal, Salvatorgasse 12, 1010 Vienna
Time: 6pm - 8pm

Vlachs are mentioned in the medieval written sources regarding the region of Polog (north-western part of Macedonia) both in the settlements and in the mountains. Original written records, which include references to Polog, offer a detailed insight into the medieval topographic nomenclature and historical geography of this region in the Middle Ages. The existence of at least 47 settlements (i.e. fortified towns, villages, nucleuses of hamlets and hamlets) is attested. Certainly, there must have been other settlements as well, and even towns (e.g. Sobri and Trnovo), which are not recorded in the written sources. The presence of Vlachs in these settlements is documented by the medieval written sources, and in some cases it may be surmised, although the respective evidence is lacking or incomplete.
The paper will amongst others focus on sources from ca. 1343 regarding the Monastery of Bogorodica Htetovska (Monastery of the Holy Virgin of Htetovo), which contain data on the Vlachs as a population in the mountains. Although there is a dispute in the contemporary scholarly literature, whether the Vlachs were an ethnic group or a specific kind of dependent population, we are going to analyse the respective sources and shed new light on the presence of the Vlachs in Polog from the end of the 13th to the middle of 14th century.

Lecture from 24th May 2017:

Die justinianische Stadtgründung Caričin Grad / Iustiniana Prima – eine 'öko-archäologische' Perspektive

Priv.-Doz. Dr. habil. Rainer Schreg (Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum – RGZM, Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für Archäologie, Mainz)

Venue: Austrian Academy of Sciences, 1st Floor, Seminar Room 1.49 and 1.50
Time: 6pm - 8pm

Caričin Grad in Südserbien ist eine Stadtanlage des 6. Jahrhunderts. Auch wenn die bestätigende Inschrift fehlt, kann davon ausgegangen werden, dass es sich um Iustiniana Prima handelt, eine Stadtgründung Kaiser Justinians, die dieser nahe seines Geburtsortes vornahm.Derzeit ist das RGZM in Mainz an den seit 100 Jahren dauernden Forschungen vor Ort beteiligt. Während bei stadtarchäologischen Forschungen Probleme der Stratigraphie und der Chronologie normalerweise erhebliche Ressourcen binden, bietet die kurze Lebensdauer der Stadt von nur rund 80 Jahren (ca. 530-610 n.Chr.) die Chance, gezielt Fragen der Stadtökologie nachzugehen. Das umfasst Fragen der Interaktion von Stadt und Land, von Architektur und Landschaft, zwischen Mensch und Tier ebenso wie die Frage nach den alltäglichen Lebensverhältnissen in der Stadt, nicht nur für den Menschen, sondern auch für die in der Stadt lebenden Tiere und Pflanzen. Der Vortrag präsentiert Ergebnisse der Grabungs- und Surveykampagnen unter Mainzer Beteiligung und bietet einen Überblick über das dem Projekt zugrunde liegende methodisch-theoretische Konzept der Stadtökologie.

In Cooperation with the Austrian Archeological Institute (OeAI)

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Priv.-Doz. Dr. habil. Rainer Schreg

Scholarly Co-worker at the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum - Subject Area Early History and Byzantium;

Research interests:
Concepts and questions of Historical Archaeology, Environmental- and Social Archaeology; Settlement Archaeology; Pottery and Ceramics; Medieval and Modern Era Archaeology; Research History

Lecture from 1st March 2017:

The Ways towards the Complex Study of Settlement Structures:
The Case Study of the Early Medieval Morava Valley

Mag. Jakub Tamaškovič (Constantine the Philosopher University, Nitra, Slovak Republic)

There is no doubt that settlement structures were complex systems, where each entity (fortified settlements, rural settlements, graveyards, fields etc.) had its function and meaning. Therefore, the main goal of "settlement archaeology" (in the meaning developed by H. Jankuhn and modified by other scholars), or also of settlement area theories (E. Neustupný), is to explain these functions and meanings of the settlements and their wider space – the landscape. In other words, the goal is to reconstruct the settlement system of the past. If we want to sum up the research of the last century (i.e. from the 1950s until the 1980s), we can see a lack of balance between the research of the fortified central settlements and the smaller rural settlements. During the last decades, the aim of research had moved "outside of the fortifications", i.e. to the hinterland of the central sites, or even to wider regions. Establishing the borders of the region of research is one of the most crucial problems, which can affect the outcome of the scholar’s work. The basic principle is to define the region with the help of the slowly changing natural features, which could most probably have been the "land markers" also for past populations.

The region around the valley of the river Morava is hard to define. Between the Carpathian mountain chains (todays Slovak Republic) and the first highlands of the Alps (Austria), there is a lowland landscape. More so, nowadays geo-political borders of the Slovak Republic, Czech Republic and Austria divide the Morava valley into three parts. Up to the present day, the Early Medieval settlements in the Morava valley were studied as sites or as separate regions [e.g. by S. Eichert (A), H. Herold (A), J. Macháček, P. Dresler (CZ), M. Hladík (CZ – SVK) and J. Tamaškovič (SVK)]. Now, for the first time, the state of research on each site of the river Morava (the border) and international cooperations allow us to analyse the Early Medieval settlement structures as one integral unit – as a complex system. As the main methodological tool we have chosen the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and multiple statistic methods in order to understand the relationship between the various types of settlements as well as between the settlements and their environment. The paper aims at the presentation of the latest state of research and at the concrete methods used for the analyses.

The presented results are part of the project "Hic sunt leones", which is funded by the Slovak Research and Development Agency (SRDA; Project No. SK-AT-2015-0012).

Mag. Jakub Tamaškovič

PhD student at the Masaryk University - Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Museology;
Archaeologist at the Archaeological Agency (private company, aims: rescue excavations and restauration of the artefacts)

Research interests:
Early Medieval Age in Central Europe, especially in the region of the Morava river valley; settlement archaeology and settlement patterns; environmental archaeology; GIS in archaeology as a tool for spatial analyses