Villages, Castles, Cities …

After a long period of border conflict, Slavic peoples became part of the Thuringian population in the 7th and 8th centuries. Jewellery and decorative accessories, particularly from the Saale-Unstrut area, provide evidence of Slavic culture and of the peaceful co-existence of Slavic and Germanic people.

With the establishment of an organised priesthood in the second half of the 8th century, and the implementation of an administrative system based on counties by Emperor Charlemagne, there began in Thuringia, as elsewhere, an intensive phase of construction of villages, castles, churches, and monasteries. Many of these changed hands through the centuries, were destroyed, or, due to poor geographic location, abandoned. In the 11th and 12th centuries the founding of villages began across a wide area east of the Saale River, which had previously been inhabited by Slavs.

A move away from principally agrarian communities was made with the emergence of a multitude of towns from the 12th century – a process that reached its high point in the 14th century.

The presentation of archaeological evidence of the history of Thuringia is concluded with a selection of the broad spectrum of material goods from the High and Late Medieval periods, which have been brought to light by excavations of castles, abandoned settlements, and the town centres of settlements dating to the Middle Ages.