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2006 | 47 | 161-189

Article title

Etnogeneza Słowian w świetle nowszych badań antropologicznych


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Two viewpoints on the ethnogenesis of the Slavs clash in modern archaeology: one assumes that in the ancient times the Slavs occupied the territories in the northeastern part of Central Europe, especially in the basins of the Oder and Vistula rivers, the other - assumes the existence of Slavic territories only in the areas located further east. The author contends that the visions of the process of ethnogenesis of the Slavs created by archaeologists must be confronted with and must not be inconsistent with the findings of other disciplines of general anthropology. In particular, the studies of differentiation of the biological features of primaeval populations cannot be neglected. Recently, R. Dabrowski presented the results of studies into the anthropological differentiation of human populations from the river basin of the Oder and the Vistula in the time of Roman influences and in the early Middle Ages, using for the analysis newly acquired skeletal material and by applying - in the studies into morphological differentiation - very sensitive methods of the analysis of biological distance between populations as well as up-to-date methods of multi-featured analysis. The research demonstrated very close similarities of the people of the Przeworsk and Wielbar culture in the Roman period to the Western Slavs, and the people of the Czerniachow culture to the Eastern Slavs. Additionally, the article shows the results of studies of the condition and biological dynamics of the human populations inhabiting the basins of the Oder and the Vistula rivers in the times of Roman influences and the Slavic population in the early Middle Ages as well as morphological differentiation of those populations, also with regard to the Scandinavian populations. From the comparative data presented, it stems that the condition and biological dynamics of the human populations in the basin of the Oder and Vistula rivers in Roman times were not markedly different from the condition and biological dynamics of the early mediaeval populations of the Slavs on these territories. What is more, it has been concluded that early mediaeval populations characterized by low population dynamics inhabited the river basins of Pripet, Dnieper and Prut and consequently, their population expansion was presumably restricted, whereas the abilities of a numerical increase of groups not very great, which is in contrast with the studies indicating these areas as the original territories of the Slavic populations. The territories indicated as inhabited by the people with high population dynamics, actually covered the areas occupied by the Slavs during their expansion. Additionally, the analysis demonstrated that the populations from the Roman period and the populations of the Western Slavs are poorly differentiated and constitute one collection. The populations from Scandinavia, in turn, are clearly distinguished from other populations, and a close similarity to this group is manifested only by the skeletal population of mediaeval Kolobrzeg. In sum, it must be said that, until now, there have been no anthropological studies that would confirm the thesis about the discontinuation of settlement in the areas in the river basins of the Oder and the Vistula, but, on the contrary, the studies show close biological similarity between the people of the Roman times and the early Middle Ages who inhabited these lands. The original paper published with the German summary.







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  • J. Piontek, Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickewicza, Instytut Antropologii, ul. Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznan, Poland


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