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Peter Milo

"Byzantine Influences on the Urban Development of the Early Medieval Bulgarian Capitals Pliska and Preslav: A Comparative Study Based on Geophysical, Archaeological, and Historical Sources"

Peter Milo

Fellow (Fall 2022), Byzantine Studies

The task of Peter's research is to interpret and integrate archaeological, historical, and remote sensing data—including fresh results from large-scale geophysical prospection campaigns—about Pliska and Preslav, two metropolises of early medieval Bulgaria, and to situate both within the context of Middle Byzantine urbanism. According to the accepted scholarship, large parts of both cities would have been covered only by loosely scattered buildings. However, recent geophysical surveys reveal dense settlement structures comparable with urban sites in Byzantium. The results of these surveys promise to shed new light not only on the functioning of these cities, but also on the economic and socio-cultural lives of their inhabitants.  Using statistics, spatial analysis, and comparative study, it will be possible to model the settlement structure of both sites within their broader European and Byzantine context.

Peter Milo is Associate Professor in Archaeology at Masaryk University (Brno, Czech Republic). In his published dissertation, which he defended at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main (Germany), he provided a comprehensive view of early medieval rural settlements across Central Europe. Drawing on his expertise in geophysical survey methods, he has built a Geophysics program at his home department in Brno in order to conduct geomagnetic, georadar, and geoelectric surveys on an international scale. Among its most important projects are the long-term surveys at early medieval fortified settlements in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the La Téne oppidum Bibracte in France, and the Roman town of Augusta Raurica in Switzerland. In recent years, Milo has been researching intensively in Bulgaria. In cooperation with colleagues from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, he focuses mainly on issues of settlement structure and development at the sites of Durankulak, Pliska and Veliki, Preslav.