Protohistoric Fortification Landscapes in the Eastern Baltic Sea Region

Schneeweiss“The call of the Varangians” (1909) (Wikipedia Commons). The arrival of the legendary Rurik and his brothers Sineus and Truvor in Ladoga, as described in the Russian Primary Chronicle, seen by the Russian painter Viktor Vasnetsov (1848-1926) in the early 20th centur

This research project focuses on territorial and cultural boundaries of the Slavic world with their diverse potentials for conflict at different levels. The aim is to identify and describe such conflict potentials and to look for behaviour patterns that have been used in dealing with them. While the society of the Slavs, at least in the early epoch, is usually thought of as acephalous and egalitarian, the Vikings developed highly efficient global networks with a merchant-warrior elite and polyethnic and multicultural trading sites. Most of them provide evidence for destructive violence. During the 9th and 10th centuries in the Baltic Sea region, numerous fortifications were constructed, the majority of which were abandoned towards the end of the Viking Age. The concrete circumstances for this process are still not sufficiently known. This period was a time of intensive socio-cultural development with the formation of multi-ethnic statehood. The ambivalence of Vikings and Slavs, who appear as merchants and warriors, peasants, pirates and diplomats in the Early and High Middle Ages, makes them particularly interesting for conflict research. This research endeavour focuses on the investigation of two fortification landscapes in Northwestern Russia (Volchov area) and in the Baltic States (Daugava/Western Dvina) as case studies. This investigation is located at the ZBSA due to its close connection in terms of content and methodology to other research areas investigated there.

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Project by Jens Schneeweiß jens.schneeweiss@zbsa.eu

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