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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.