2008 | 53 | 1 | 101-107
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SEMINAR OF ETHNOGENESIS OF THE SLAVS - INSTEAD OF CONCLUSIONS (Seminarium na temat etnogenezy Slowian - Podsumowanie)

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The research on the ethnogenetic processes is still an unresolved problem. Direct observation of objects and phenomena, the unity of time and place, the vicinity of form and secondary features of the recovered material are treated as credible indicators of the community. Such a community could be formed and endured only in the conditions of stable contacts of a communicative character. L. Zabrocki (1963) believed that this concept could act as a bridge between linguistic and historical sciences. M. Parczewski is trying to include it in discussions connected with the ethnic interpretation of archaeological cultures. 1.- The realization of this postulate is problematic. An obstacle consists in the complexity of the relationships between the populations distinguished on the basis of non-uniform and qualitatively different criteria. 2.- L. Leciejewicz doesn't see the need to revise the arguments for the autochthonist theory in the 1970s but it seems that such a need exists. 3.- In a new look at the genesis of early medieval ceramics, Z. Kurnatowska constates that many of settlements in the end of Antiquity from Great Poland and from southern Poland, did not decline suddenly: they still existed till the end of the 5th c., and, may be, continued in the next century. The 'craftsmen-made' ceramics seem to be element of continuity between the Late Antiquity and early Middle Ages. 4.- W. Szymanski gave attention to three fortified settlements in the territory of the East and West Slavs, from the 6th-7th c., connected with the southern territories. One question is whether the preference of hills chosen as places for defense organization at the beginnings of the Middle Ages was the Slavs' traditional manner of proceeding, or, it can be treated as their elastic adapting to a concrete situation existing in the new occupied territories? 5.- J. Nalepa (2007) challenges the scientific basis of the concept of K. Godlowski and M. Parczewski concerning the ancient settlements of the Slavs. He accuses these archaeologists of a 'dismissive, careless treatment of historical written sources and an ignorance of the methods of the scientific analysis, evaluation of their worth and the establishment of facts by their confrontation with other relevant sources of information'. A separate problem is the essence of Slavdom. This comprises primitivism: hand-made pottery, without decoration, is 'Slavic' whereas that more advanced technologically would be of alien origin (Cracow school opinion). This type of reductionist approach borders on the absurd. Could it be that the coincidence of our seminar with the publication in 'Slavia Antiqua', for long associated with Prof. W. Hensel, articles of similar approach - those of J. Nalepa (2007), H. Mamzer (1999), P. Barford (2003), T. Makiewicz (2005) and J. Piontek (2006) - can be seen as a turning point? Perhaps we will see now the beginning of a period of rational progress in the field of investigation concerning the origins of the Slavs, based on clearly defined methodological principles and free from emotion and ideological pressure.
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  • Stanislaw Tabaczynski, Instytut Archeologii i Etnologii PAN, al. Solidarnosci 105, 00-140 Warszawa, Poland
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