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by Archaeology Newsroom

Slaves in Byzantine Peloponnese

The invasion and inhabitation of the Peloponnese by the Slavs is an undeniable historical fact. The Slavs who settled in the Peloponnese were not nomads but farmers and cattle-breeders. The Slavic toponyms. historical sources and archaeological finds offer the evidence for the Slavic penetration and presence in the Peloponnese during the Middle Ages. The Slavic toponyms show mainly an agrarian people. When first arrived in the Peloponnese, the Slavs were pagans.The burning of the dead, hand-made pottery and cultivation of land, using fire for clearing the ground, are typical features of their early civilization. The hand¬made urns, containing the ashes of the dead, that were found in Olympia represent so far the only irrefutable evidence of the presence of Slavs in the Peloponesse. Hand-made vessels, offerings to the dead, have been discovered in a grave of the south Stoa of Corinth, in the grave 31B in Messene and in the graves at Palioboukovina, Hagia Triada, Eleia. Hand-made intact pottery or pottery fragments, that had been used as kitchen utensils, mainly frying pans and pots, as well as tableware, have been found in Argos, Tiryns, Examilion, Hagios Vasilios in Korinthia, Pallandion in Arkadia, Sparta and Karyoupolis in northeastern Mani. This hand-made pottery does not necessarily imply a Slavic invasion or settlement. The hand-made clay pottery was used by that segment of the population, native or foreign, that could not afford to buy the more expensive, wheel-made cooking utensils.