The (Missing) Archaeology of the Early Medieval Nomads

Author(s): Florin Curta

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Mind the Gap: Exploring Uncharted Territories in Medieval European Archaeology" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The goal of this paper is to take a fresh, critical look at the work done on medieval nomads, especially in Eastern Europe, over the last three decades or so. It will focus on three crucial aspects. First, the relation between pastoralism (a separate problem for medieval archaeology) and nomadism, and the question of how medieval pastoralism can or cannot be used for "tracking" nomads. Second, the archaeology of campsites and nomadic settlements, and the serious problems of identification raised by the archaeology of the steppe lands north of the Black and Caspian Seas. Third, the over-emphasis on burial sites, particularly on the secondary burials in prehistoric mounds has effectively obscured the symbolic meaning of those sites, to the point where nomadism is now associated only with burials of humans and/or horses in "kurgans" in the steppe. Without necessarily offering solutions, the intention is to raise those problems as directions of future research on the early medieval nomads.

Cite this Record

The (Missing) Archaeology of the Early Medieval Nomads. Florin Curta. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451290)


Other Pastoralism

Geographic Keywords
Europe: Eastern Europe

Spatial Coverage

min long: 19.336; min lat: 41.509 ; max long: 53.086; max lat: 70.259 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22881