"The volume ‘Migration and Identity in Eurasia’ brings to the forefront two topical concepts in European historiography and beyond. In terms of the Antiquity and Early Middle Ages, emphasis lay (in recent decades) on the impact of mobility and migration in the Greek and Roman world, migration narratives, experiences and structures, migration and integration, networks, connectivity, and cultural interactions, politics of honour and civic identity in the Hellenistic and Roman world, as well as on the archaeological study of migration (concepts, methods, results, scholarly traditions and political ideology – especially in the case of those territories under political debate among various modern countries). The requested space limits impedes us to further discuss these or other aspects here, however, chronologically and geographically, the ancient times and the Middle Ages provide a wide range of approaches for the study of the ’foreigner’/’migrant’ and different patterns of inclusion and exclusion. As such, above-mentioned research aspects may also be relevant for issues surfacing, under different forms, in the current development of society, be it with reference to socio-economic, political or cultural aspects." (Excerpt from "Preface")
Magic and witchcraft were part of the life of all communities throughout the entire human history. Besides modern theoretical approaches, which first appeared in the Victorian times and continued until today, magical practices are still considered useful means through which people could communicate with the supernatural beings, and sorcerers and witches are the intermediaries of this dialogue through their knowledge and abilities.
Ethnographic studies have provided numerous examples of magical rituals, illustrating the huge variety and complexity of the gestures and actions required by the aforementioned dialogue with the supernatural world. Likewise, ancient literary sources can help unveiling similar information regarding some of the past societies. However, this is not the case for many areas from temperate Europe and elsewhere during most of the ancient times. As a consequence, the archaeologists are called to provide at least partial reconstructions of the magical practices and their practitioners from the regions in question using the evidence they have uncovered.
It has to be noted that the archaeology of magic and witchcraft is not a new subject. There are several important contributions published around the world, which have proposed several methods of analysing and interpreting relevant archaeological evidence; many are mentioned in the introductive chapter. At the same time, a series of recent theoretical approaches taken over from cultural anthropology, for example those related to the “cultural” or “social life of things”, could offer useful instruments for interpreting archaeological data from the perspective of magic and witchcraft in past societies. (From „FOREWORD”)