PROBLEM OF THE EARLIEST SLAVS IN INTRA-CARPATHIAN ROMANIA (TRANSYLVANIA AND THE NORTH-WEST VICINITY)
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Predominantly during the second half of the last century, the problem of the presence of the earliest Slavs on the current territory of Romania was relentlessly debated among national experts. From the beginning the situation proved to be more complicated in the intra-Carphatic regions, territories included in the Gepid kingdom, and then in the Avar Khaganate. At the south-eastern extremity of Transylvania, in a territory in which there seemed to be no direct presence of the Early Avar Khaganate, a habitation attributed from an earlier date to the Early Slavs was identified, often dated to the second half/third of the 6th century and the first half of the next century. It is thought that following a later movement of the Slavs advanced in the direction of central Transylvania. However, a reevaluation of the archaeological data would rather indicate that even for the central-eastern region of Transylvania, a change in the cultural environment took place the latest towards the final part of the 6th century – the beginning of the 7th century, probably in relation precisely with the expansion of the Slavic habitation in a western direction. Similarly to other peripheral regions of the Avar Khaganate from the early-middle period, certain elements of the Prague culture seem to associate with the Transylvanian cemeteries. There are archaeological data which point to the cultural relationships between the archaeological groups known in Transylvania, but inferences regarding the potential ethnic processes taking place at the time are premature. Despite some literary sources according to which the Slavs were active at the mouth of the Tisza River already from the middle of the 6th century and somewhat later, archeological data are too scarce to support a thorough argumentation. However, an entire series of settlements together with two incineration cemeteries belong in north-western Romania to a horizon observed in the entire region of the upper Tisza, south-eastern Poland and even further to the north-east. Emerging in the region where in the immediately prior period there are no known vestiges, this horizon can be attributed to the Early Slavs. The Slavic colonization of Transylvania seems to have evolved on the horizontal (most likely peaking in the late 6th century and during the entire 7th century) in two directions: from north-western Romania (the region of the upper Tisza) and from Moldova, over the passes of the Eastern Carpathians with a first landmark in the south-eastern part of the Transylvanian basin.
323 – 370
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