The Balto-Slavic Ethnic Groups in the Territory of Belarussian Podvinia (Basin of the Dvina River) in the Second Half of the First Millennium A.D. (an archeolinguistic aspect)
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The processes of the great migrations of peoples affected also the territory of Belarus, including areas close to the Dvina River. These movements initiated the formation of the ethno-cultural groups which over time constituted the fundaments of the Belarussian nation. Archaeology notes a number of changes in the material culture of the populations living in this territory. All changes fixed in archaeology took place due to various mutual cultural influences and transfers of groups of people. The author attempts to identify the names of tribes which, in his opinion, inhabited areas along the Dvina River. Among them are the Krywiczy (Krywy), Polotcans, Latgalians and, possibly, Selonians and Narvians. Later he discusses the opinions of a number of scholars on relevant ethnonyms and their etymology and comments on the credibility of their evidence. He emphasizes the presence of many Lithuanian words in the Belarussian language. Linguists have noted also Latvian isoglosses on the Dvina and beyond the Dnieper. In connection with archaeological evidence, this fact provides evidence of the geographical distribution of Baltic tribes in these areas in the past. In a similar way the author deals with other ethnonyms. Generally, an analysis of ethnonyms denoting the Belarussian people of the area along the Dvina in the early Middle Ages indicates the complexity of ethnic and cultural relations in this region. One can assume that Slavicization, which took place here, embraced the Baltic peoples and, in part, Baltic and Finnic peoples. The author is well aware that the identification of ethnocultural groups inhabiting Belarussian territory on the Dzwina River in the early Middle Ages is very difficult. He believes that only extensive study of the problem, combining archaeological, ethnographic, linguistic and anthropological data, as well as data from other related disciplines, may help to resolve the question.
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