Florin Curta

Florin Curta (born January 15, 1965) is a Romanian-born American archaeologist and historian who is a Professor of Medieval History and Archaeology at the University of Florida.

Florin Curta
Born (1965-01-15) January 15, 1965 (age 56)
NationalityRomanian, American
Occupationarchaeologist, historian


Curta works in the field of the Balkan history and is a Professor of Medieval History and Archaeology at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.[1] Curta’s first book, The Making of the Slavs. History and Archaeology of the Lower Danube Region, A.D. 500-700, was named a 2002 Choice Outstanding Academic Title and won the Herbert Baxter Adams Award of the American Historical Association in 2003.[2] Curta is the editor-in-chief of the Brill series East Central and Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 450-1450.[2] He is a member in the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies, Princeton University (Spring 2007) and a visiting fellow, Corpus Christi College, Oxford University (2015). He attends an Eastern Orthodox Christian parish.[3]

Theories and criticism

Being inspired by Reinhard Wenskus and Vienna School of History, Curta is known for his usage of post-processual and post-structuralist approach in explaining Slavic ethnogenesis and migrations by which is arguing against the mainstream view and primordial culture-historical approach in archaeology and historiography.[4][5][6][7] In his arguing against the Slavic mass expansion from the Slavic Urheimat by which is denying the existence of the Slavic Urheimat, Slavic language as unifying element of the Slavs and Prague-type ceramics as expression of the Early Slavs, is advancing an alternative hypothesis which considers the Slavs as an "ethno-political category" invented by the Byzantines which was formed by political instrumentation and interaction on the Roman frontiers where flourished barbarian elite culture.[4][8][9][10][11] It was met with substantial disagreement and "severe criticism in general and in detail" by other archaeologists and historians who noted Curta's arbitrary selection of archaeological sites, data and interpretation of chronologies to support his preconceived conclusions and cultural model which fails to explain the emergence and spread of the Slavs and Slavic culture.[12][13][14][15][16] The migrationist model remains as the most acceptable and possible to explain the spread of the Slavs as well as Slavic culture (including language),[8][17] but Curta's work did spark a new scientific debate and found support by those who use similar approach, like Walter Pohl and Danijel Dzino.[12][18]


Edited volumes

  • East Central & Eastern Europe in the Early Middle Ages. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005.
  • Borders, barriers, and ethnogenesis. Frontiers in late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2005.
  • The other Europe in the Middle Ages. Avars, Bulgars, Khazars, and Cumans. Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2008.
  • Neglected Barbarians. Turnhout: Brepols, 2011.
  • with Bogdan-Petru Maleon, The Steppe Lands and the World Beyond Them. Studies in Honor of Victor Spinei on his 70th Birthday. Iași: Editura Universității "Alexandru Ioan Cuza", 2013.


  1. "Interview with Florin Curta". Medievalists.net. January 2007. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  2. "Florin Curta". history.ufl.edu. University of Florida. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  3. Holt, Andrew (25 December 2014). "An Interview with Dr. Florin Curta on Communism, Faith, and Academia". apholt.com.
  4. Di Hu, "Approaches to the Archaeology of Ethnogenesis: Past and Emergent Perspectives", Journal of Archaeological Research, 21(4), 2013, pp. 389-390
  5. Johannes Koder, "On the Slavic Immigration in the Byzantine Balkans", Migration Histories of the Medieval Afroeurasian Transition Zone: Aspects of Mobility Between Africa, Asia and Europe, 300-1500 C.E., 2020, pp. 81-100
  6. Florin Curta, The Early Slavs. Culture and Society in Early Medieval Eastern Europe by Paul M. Barford (review), European Journal of Archaeology, 6(1), 2003, pp. 99-101
  7. Florin Curta, "The early Slavs in Bohemia and Moravia: a response to my critics", Archeologické rozhledy, 61 (4), 2009, pp. 725-754
  8. Felix Biermann, "Kommentar zum Aufsatz von Florin Curta: Utváření Slovanů (se zvláštním zřetelem k Čechám a Moravě) – The Making of the Slavs (with a special emphasis on Bohemia and Moravia)", Archeologické rozhledy, 61 (2), 2009, pp. 337-349
  9. Boris Todorov, The Making of the Slavs. History and Archaeology of the Lower Danube Region, c. 500–700 by Florin Curta (review), Comitatus, 33, 2002, pp. 178-180
  10. Paul Stephenson, The Making of the Slavs: History and Archaeology of the Lower Danube Region, c. 500-700 by Florin Curta (review), The International History Review, 24 (3), 2002, pp. 629-631
  11. Florin Curta, "The Making of the Slavs between ethnogenesis, invention, and migration", Studia Slavica et Balcanica Petropolitana, 2 (4), 2008, pp. 155-172
  12. Walter Pohl, The Avars: A Steppe Empire in Central Europe, 567-822, Cornell University Press, 2018, pp. 124
  13. Tomáš Gábriš, Róbert Jáger, "Back to Slavic Legal History? On the Use of Historical Linguistics in the History of Slavic Law", Frühmittelalterliche Studien, 53 (1), 2019, pp. 41-42
  14. Petr V. Shuvalov, "The invention of the problem (on Florin Curta's book)", Studia Slavica et Balcanica Petropolitana, 2 (4), 2008, pp. 13-20
  15. Andrej Pleterski, "The Ethnogenesis of the Slavs, the Methods and the Process", Starohrvatska prosvjeta, 3 (40), 2013, pp. 8-10, 22-25
  16. Andrej Pleterski, "The Early Slavs in the Eastern Alps and Their Periphery", in The Slavs on the Danube. Homeland Found, Editors-in-Charge Roman A. Rabinovich and Igor O. Gavritukhin, Stratum plus, No. 5, 2015, pp. 232, quote: "Однако под влиянием англосаксонских антропологических теорий возникла и третья концепция, согласно которой славяне в Европе распространялись не как «биологический» феномен, а как культурная модель образа жизни с языковым компонентом данной культурной модели (Barford 2001; Curta 2001; 2008; 2010; 2010а; Dzino 2008; 2009). Недостаток данной концепции состоит в том, что она в основном сосредоточена на механизме передачи культурной модели, и гораздо меньше — на ее происхождении. На другие слабые места в ее аргументации указывает Владимир Сокол — это недостаточное знание адептами концеп1 За дружескую помощь я благодарю Владимира Нартника. №5. 2015 ции конкретных материалов, что приводит к произвольным интерпретационным выводам (Sokol 2011)."
  17. Michel Kazanski, "Archaeology of the Slavic Migrations", in: Encyclopedia of Slavic Languages and Linguistics Online, Editor-in-Chief Marc L. Greenberg, BRILL, 2020, quote: "There are two specific aspects of the archaeology of Slavic migrations: the movement of the populations of the Slavic cultural model and the diffusion of this model amid non-Slavic populations. Certainly, both phenomena occurred; however, a pure diffusion of the Slavic model would hardly be possible, in any case in which a long period of time when the populations of different cultural traditions lived close to one another is assumed. Moreover, archaeologists researching Slavic antiquities do not accept the ideas produced by the "diffusionists," because most of the champions of the diffusion model know the specific archaeological materials poorly, so their works leave room for a number of arbitrary interpretations (for details, see Pleterski 2015: 232)."
  18. Danijel Dzino, Becoming Slav, Becoming Croat: Identity Transformations in Post-Roman and Early Medieval Dalmatia, BRILL, 2010, pp. 93-94