‘Slavic archaeology’ has in recent years overcome the traditional ‘ethnic paradigm’ that had dominated culture-historical archaeology for decades. The second main step forward has been the application of dendrochronology or tree-ring-dating, which shows on the basis of the archaeological record that political development ran much faster sometimes than previously thought. And a third improvement is important – to realize that East Central Europe did share fundamental cultural characteristics, but was far from being a homogenous zone. Political developments, economic exchange and cultural influences caused many regional and chronological differences. Complex interdependencies e.g. between hillfort layout, ceramic technology and the development of supra-regional power have now become visible. The paper summarizes the current state of research: economy from agriculture and landscape to production and exchange, settlement from houses and hamlets to hillforts and their sometimes central functions, society from history and politics to representation and identities.