Publication details

How do we build it? Early mediaeval protourban centres of Moravia



Year of publication 2023
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The second half of the first millennium AD falls within the period between the Frankish and Byzantine empires, a very turbulent period, characterised by a deep political and social transformation. The territory of today´s Moravia (eastern part of the Czech Republic), inhabited by Slavs, was no exception. This period is also described as proto-urban, which developed into the regular planned urban concept in the Mediaeval period. The proto-urban concept was reflected especially in the extensively fortified centres, often referred to as strongholds (e.g. Mikulčice, Pohansko, etc.). However these important centres of the 9th - 10th centuries AD were, unlike in the west, built “on greenfield sites” without previous settlements. Based on new research, these new proto-towns apparently did not last long and were abandoned after a very short period of time, so there must be an unexpected dynamic of development. All the factors mentioned above give us a unique opportunity to study situations that are little disturbed by previous or further interventions. The urban concept in Great Moravian strongholds lacks easily defined and regular inner structure, which is more often present at strongholds in northern and western Europe. It was believed that the unorganised cluster form represents the predominant or even exclusive settlement form of the Slavic Early Middle Ages. This may not be completely true, as in recent years, we successfully recognised urban patterns. We were able to trace homesteads, roads passing through the strongholds, the spatial distribution of production areas, churches, churcheside but also solitary burial grounds, waste management etc. This points to the gradual evolution of the concept of urbanism. The paper will present the results of research on important early medieval Moravian strongholds from recent years with a focus on the description of the manifestations of urbanism.
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