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HORSEMEN IN FORTS OR PEASANTS IN VILLAGES? REMARKS ON THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF WARFARE IN THE 6TH TO 7TH C. BALKANS

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Conspicuously absent from 6th to early 7th c. fortified sites in the Balkans are stirrups and other elements of equipment signalling the presence of cavalry troops. Hoards of iron implements containing stirrups have been wrongly dated to Late Antiquity; they are in fact of a much later date (9th–11th c. A.D.). Those hoards which can be dated to the 6th c. with some degree of certainty lack agricultural tools associated with large-scale cultivation of fields. As most such hoards found in Early Byzantine hill-forts typically include tools for the garden-type cultivation of small plots of land, they show that no agricultural occupations could be practised inside or outside 6th c. forts, which could satisfy the needs of the existing population. Those were, therefore, forts, not fortified villages.

10.1163/22134522-90000026
/content/journals/10.1163/22134522-90000026
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/content/journals/10.1163/22134522-90000026
2013-01-25
2017-08-19

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