image/svg+xml99 VIII/1/2017 INTERDISCIPLINARIA ARCHAEOLOGICA NATURAL SCIENCES IN ARCHAEOLOGY homepage: A look at the region Hic sunt leones? The Morava Valley Region During the Early Middle Ages: The Bilateral Mobility Project between Slovakia and Austria Mária Hajnalová a* , Stefan Eichert b , Jakub Tamaškovič a , Nina Brundke b , Judith Benedix b , Noémi Beljak Pažinová a , Dominik Repka a a Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Arts, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Štefánikova 67, 949 74 Nitra, Slovakia b Department of Prehistory and Historical Archaeology , Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies at the University of Vienna, Franz-Klein-Gasse 1, 1190 Wien, Austria 1. Introduction Hic sunt leones ” is a two-year bilateral mobility project for the years 2016–2017 between the University of Vienna, Institute of Prehistory and Historical Archaeology (principal investigator Stefan Eichert) and the Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Department of Archaeology in the Faculty of Arts (principal investigator Mária Hajnalová). The project aims to investigate the historical development of the border region between Austria and Slovakia during the Early Middle Ages, a time period from the sixth century AD to the eleventh century AD. Scientifcally, the goal is to create a homogenous state of the art research milieu that scholars from both countries will beneft from. 2. State of research Archaeological research in southwest Slovakia and northeast Austria has resulted in several publications concerned with the cultural and historical developments of the early medieval period, but all are based on data almost exclusively either from Slovakia or from Austria ( cf. Bednár 2001; 2013; Fusek 2008; Herold 2007; 2010, 153–166; Justová 1990; Pollak 2009; Repka 2011; Ruttkay 1996; Ruttkay 2006; Wawruschka 2009) and almost never geared toward transregional comparison or data correlation. A closer look at the available scholarly information shows that the social and cultural history, palaeoeconomy and paleoecology of the Lower Morava valley region remain a “ terra incognita ”.Until the early 1990s, research was strongly limited by the historical geo-political divides in the region. Cooperation across the Iron Curtain was barely possible. Unfortunately, despite the much more favourable political climate, the situation has not changed much since 1989. As a result, archaeological sites have been researched using diferent approaches and methodologies. They are described and evaluated employing diferent chronological and typological terminologies on both banks of the lower course of the Morava River.Furthermore, our present knowledge is heavily biased by the long-standing focus on fortifed “central” settlements to the neglect of much commoner, smaller, rural locales Volume VIII ● Issue 1/2017 ● Pages 99–104 *Corresponding author. E-mail: ARTICLE INFO Article history: Received: 25 th January 2017Accepted: 20 th June 2017 DOI: 10.24916/iansa.2017.1.7 Key words: bilateral projectEarly Medieval PeriodSlovakiaAustriacross-border cooperation ABSTRACT Cross-border cooperation is very important for understanding the cultural-historical development of the border regions of modern day states. These areas, today, are often considered as “peripheries”. However, in the past they usually had a very diferent function and status. This article introduces one bilateral mobility project between the archaeological departments at the University of Vienna and the Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, aimed at facilitating more focused early medieval archaeological research in the region along the lower stretches of the Morava River. The article introduces the region, its history and state of research and describes the role of the project, the team and the project results obtained up to date.
image/svg+xmlIANSA 2017 ● VIII/1 ● 99–104Mária Hajnalová, Stefan Eichert, Jakub Tamaškovič, Nina Brundke, Judith Benedix, Noémi Beljak Pažinová, Dominik Repka: Hic sunt leones? The Morava Valley Region During the Early Middle Ages: The Bilateral Mobility Project between Slovakia and Austria 100 ( cf. Herold 2011; 2012; 2016; Henning, Ruttkay 1998; 2011; Macháček 2013; Ruttkay 2012; 2015). For these and other reasons, the cultural landscape and the early medieval settlement structure of the lower Morava River have never been researched as a single entity – a complex system consisting of various types of settlements and burial grounds. 3. The region under study Geographically, the studied area belongs to the Vienna Basin. The central axis is formed by the lower course of the Morava River. In Slovakia, the area covers the southern part of the Záhorie region (Bor Lowlands) – the territory between the river and the Lower Carpathians, delimited by the Myjava River to the north and the area of Bratislava to the south. In Austria, it covers the adjacent parts of the Marchfeld (Figure 1).While the region’s medieval material culture ( e.g. ceramics and metal fnds) is relatively uniform on both sides of the river, the natural environment difers. The lower elevations in both countries are covered by the level foodplains of the Morava River and its tributaries. The elevated, upland areas in Austria represent the stable loess hills of the rolling landscape of Weinwiertel. In Slovakia, almost half of the study region is covered by unstable dunes of eolithic sands (Fordinál 2012; Kalivodová et al. 2008, 10) that form a highly specifc and unique environment. These diferences in geology are mirrored in diferent soil types and vegetation. 4. A brief history of the region In the sixth and seventh century AD, Slavs settled and established new communities on the territory of what is now the Austrian, Slovakian and Moravian side of the Morava River (Fusek 2013; Fusek, Zábojník 2003). In the vicinity of Bratislava, in the southern part of the study region, there is a strong evidence for probably peaceful interactions between Slavs and Avars (Bialeková, Zábojník 1996; Herold 2010; 2014; Winter 1997; Zábojník 1989; 2009). Further to the west and north along the Morava River, the evidence for Avaric infuence declines (Zábojník 1999).At the beginning and frst half of the eighth century AD, the dichotomy between the development of the areas east and west of the Morava River seems to have grown. The eastern part (now in Slovakia) most probably fell under the political infuence of the Moravian Principality (Ruttkay 2008, 269–270), while the western part (now in Austria) was gradually incorporated into the realm of Emperor Charlemagne. He used the Danube River and adjacent lands as a route and base for his military expeditions against the Avars (Zábojník 2009, 10–13).Later, during the late eighth and start of the ninth century AD, the area on both sides of the river seems to have transformed into a bufer zone between the Carolingian Empire, the Moravian Principality and the Principality of Nitra. After the principalities of Moravia and Nitra merged in the ninth century with the conquest of Mojmír I in the Moravian Empire, the region became a contact and, at the same time, a frontier zone of the Carolingian Empire. The life of the people living here in those times was most probably strongly infuenced by several military conficts that lasted for over half a century (Musilová 2012; Steinhübel 2012a, 310–312).At the beginning of the tenth century, the area witnessed the collapse of the Great Moravian Empire and the raids from tribes of “Old Hungarians” (Révész 2014; Vavruš 2008; Staššíková–Štukovská 2008). During the