Middle Age Settlement Structures of the South of Eastern Europe

Keywords: the Middle Ages, feudalism, city, castle, village, social organism, state, relations, agricultural society.

Abstract

Over the past decades, in many countries of Europe and America, the concept of “archaeology of settlements” has been actively developed, which is based on the recognition of the enormous role of ancient settlements in the process of studying and reconstructing the socio-economic institutions of various diverse human groups and entire nations. This fully applies to the settlements of the south of Eastern Europe — first of all, to the territory of modern Ukraine — in medieval times.

In this area, numerous cities, castles, open settlements have been recorded, the history of which in many cases has a centuries-old extent. First of all, it concerns urban centers, which is established on the basis of written and archaeological data. Many of them carry out archaeological research, but the volumes of modern field work, are clearly insufficient to obtain new information for further reconstruction of their development in space and time. Moreover, they are concentrated mainly only in areas of modern construction work, and not where it is necessary for a common understanding of life here over the centuries.

At the same time, the issue of the interaction of composite structures in different territories and at different times remains relevant, which is especially important for explaining the effect of different mechanisms of functioning of all different-time state organisms: Kievan Rus, the Ukrainian Cossack State, or as a part of various foreign entities — the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Rus and Samogitian, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, etc. However, in general, all available information convincingly confirms the feudal nature of social structures of the middle ages time among indigenous population under consideration, in this case, territory.

In connection with the mentioned above, the clarification of the terminology currently used should undoubtedly be adjusted for its conformity with the new refined model of perception of a specific social structure, which has been constantly developing in a civilizational sense over the past many centuries under the conditions of an agricultural society, which undoubtedly left its mark on all social structures (including settlement) throughout the medieval period in the life of every nation. It is necessary to constantly remember and clarify for oneself the fundamental differences between agricultural and subsequent industrial societies, each of which had distinctive main features, although in some details both could overlap in some ways.

Author Biography

Oleksandr Motsia, Institute of Archaeology, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Corresponding member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, DSc, Head of the Old Rus and Medieval archaeology Department

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2020-04-03
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