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Constantinople-Kucukcekmece – the Destination Port of the Way from the Varangians to the Greeks, a Centre of “Byzantinization” of the Rus’ Community

Project information


Project title: Constantinople-Kucukcekmece – the Destination Port of the Way from the Varangians to the Greeks, a Centre of “Byzantinization” of the Rus' Community

Project No: 2014/14/E/HS3/00679

Project lead: dr Błażej Michał Stanisławski

Project lead, institutional: Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences
Project financing:National Science Center, 2014-2016


e-mail: st-wski@wp.pl
phone (22) 620-28-81 do 86

Project implementation:

Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences





1. Research project objectives/ Research hypothesis


The Way from the Varangians to the Greeks linked Eastern Europe and the Baltic Sea zone with Constantinople. Through the route Byzantine goods and ideas reached the North. The ideas which, amongst others, created foundations of medieval European civilization in our part of the continent. The artery functioned as the result of relations between the Rus'/Scandinavians and Byzantines started in the 9th and continued in the 10th century. Their testimony are treaties from 911 and 944 mentioned in the Nestor's Chronicle (Tale of Bygone Years). Under the agreements the Rus' gained the right to stay in the neighbourhood of Constantinople.
The aim is: to locate the place of stay of the Rus' at the gates of the capital of the Empire based on material and written sources (Greek and Latin); reconstruction of the cultural environment - based on archaeological data and historical texts - in which directly lived newcomers from Eastern Europe in Miklagard and determination of the impact of this environment on their culture.
The basis of the project is the hypothesis that the Byzantine settlement complex situated at Kucukcekmece Lake near Istanbul was the destination port ofthe route, perhaps identical with the zone appointed to the Rus' as their place ofresidence at the gates of Constantinople mentioned in the treaties. This concept was formulated by S. Aydingün and H. Öniz - the leaders of the excavations in Kucukcekmece. It is confirmed by artefacts of Rus'/Scandinavian origins discovered there, identified by the author of the project.
The resoult of the project will be the text of a monograph prepared for publication.


2. Research project methodology


The interdisciplinary project combines the experience of Polish and Turkish medieval studies. It includes specialists in archaeology (Viking culture, Byzantine studies, land and underwater excavations), classical philology, history and architecture. Its basis are studies of material sources obtained as a result of archaeological work in Kucukcekmece (using the classical and the latest methods of field prospection and documentation) as well as historical research of written sources (Greek and Latin) associated with this centre and problems in question.


3. Expected impact of the research project on the development of science, civilization and society


The project will contribute to the perception of the cultural environment in which the first direct contact of communities from our part of the continent and the Byzantine civilization occurred and we will be able to recognize the Byzantine impact on the newcomers from the North.
It will create a new source foundation and fields to discussion within studies carried out in recent years, which aim to: (1) to illustrate the socio-economic background, against which the process offormation offirst states in the Early Middle Ages occurred, with particular emphasis on the role played by the Scandinavians; and (2) to study problems associated with the beginnings of the medieval European civilization started by L. Leciejewicz (Nowa postać świata, Wrocław 2000). It will also contribute to resurrect the tradition of Wrocław Byzantine studies, initiated by G. Ostrogorski and Mediterranean archaeology of the Middle Ages, created by L. Leciejewicz.