1st Edition

Slavs in the Making History, Linguistics, and Archaeology in Eastern Europe (ca. 500 – ca. 700)

By Florin Curta Copyright 2021
    366 Pages 54 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    366 Pages 54 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Slavs in the Making takes a fresh look at archaeological evidence from parts of Slavic-speaking Europe north of the Lower Danube, including the present-day territories of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia.

    Nothing is known about what the inhabitants of those remote lands called themselves during the sixth century, or whether they spoke a Slavic language. The book engages critically with the archaeological evidence from these regions, and questions its association with the "Slavs" that has often been taken for granted. It also deals with the linguistic evidence—primarily names of rivers and other bodies of water—that has been used to identify the primordial homeland of the Slavs, and from which their migration towards the Lower Danube is believed to have started. It is precisely in this area that sociolinguistics can offer a serious alternative to the language tree model currently favoured in linguistic paleontology. The question of how best to explain the spread of Slavic remains a controversial issue. This book attempts to provide an answer, and not just a critique of the method of linguistic paleontology upon which the theory of the Slavic migration and homeland relies.

    The book proposes a model of interpretation that builds upon the idea that (Common) Slavic cannot possibly be the result of Slavic migration. It addresses the question of migration in the archaeology of early medieval Eastern Europe, and makes a strong case for a more nuanced interpretation of the archaeological evidence of mobility. It will appeal to scholars and students interested in medieval history, migration, and the history of Eastern and Central Europe.


    1. Theoretical framework

    2. Approaching the early Slavs

    3. Written sources

    4. The Carpathian Basin

    5. The East German and Czech lands

    6. Poland

    7. Western (Right-Bank) Ukraine and Belarus

    8. Eastern (Left-Bank) Ukraine and western Russia

    9. Migration

    10. Language

    11. Ethnicity



    Florin Curta is Professor of Medieval History and Archaeology at the University of Florida, USA. He is the author of The Making of the Slavs: History and Archaeology of the Lower Danube, ca. 500-700 (2004), Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500-1250 (2006), The Edinburgh History of the Greeks, ca. 500 to 1050: The Early Middle Ages (2011), and Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages (500-1300) (2019).