Basic information
Original title:
Researchers involved:
Mateja Belak, Timotej Knific, PhD
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Zvezdana Modrijan, PhD, Vesna Svetličič Turk
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1 July 2014–28 February 2018

That religion, economy and society are inextricably linked in a whole does not have to justify. We currently have a deeper insight into this set among the Slavs for the time of Christiansation onwards, with assistence of written sources. This is highly related to a social stratification and to the formation of large territorial medieval Slavic states. About the preChristian forms of Slavic statehood give us written sources very little information. Therefore, historiography in some cases created a caricature of some kind of anarchy, in which the ancient Slavs lived. Does this mean that the ancient Slavs were without statesmanship and were unable to create a state? What is able the archeology to tell about this topic? This raises the methodological question of what kind and how large are the interpretive possibilities of archeology to be included in a discussion about a creative social role of the old faith (neutral term instead of pejorative word paganism). Previous research has shown that it in this question "a mythical landscape" has a very big interpretative potential. With the mythical landscape those forms of a cultural landscape are meant, which were formed by the people in accordance with their mythical conceptions, or which were at least in such a way treated, with the aim to gain the mastery over the forces of nature. The main items in space, on which magical acts rely, are sanctuaries. Since the mythical landscape is materialized, of course, it could be the subject of an archaeological research. A research question is suggested, whether each ancient Slavic territorial unit had its concluded structure of the mythical landscape? A positive answer to this question would mean that it is possible to archaeological identify and to explore the traces of the ancient Slavic territorial political units.

Mislinjska dolina, Slovenia. Spatial movements, described in the folk tradition. 1 – hill, 2 – church, 3 – archaeological site.

The objective of the project, based on selected Slovenian cases, is to determine whether there are concluded spatial structures of the mythical landscapes, which could be linked to the existence of oldfaithbased political units of the ancient Slavs.

In order to achieve this, there is the intention to publish the results of excavations of the potential sanctuaries Otok na Blejskem jezeru (Island on Lake Bled) and Sv. Jurij na Legnu (St. George in Legen), as well as to review the publication of Ptujski grad (Ptuj Castle) and the discussion that followed, and to perform spatial analysis of microregions in which these sites are located. Furthermore, to locate with this analysis the spatial structure of the local mythical landscape and to determine whether there were changes in its structure, which could be linked to the development of local ruler elite, respectively to the process of Christianisation, and to determine whether there exist recurring features of mythical landscape structure that could be understood as an evidence of the existence of oldfaith political units of the ancient Slavs.