The current report reviews the data regarding the settlement pattern along a section of the right Danube bank in present-day Northeastern Bulgaria in the period from the late 9th century to the mid-11th century AD. Situated in the western hinterland of the highly important in political, economic and strategic terms Medieval city of Dristra (with the limits of present-day Silistra, Bulgaria), the sites in the focus of this paper have been surveyed and excavated for over a hundred years now.

Thus, this study aims to comment on several inter-wined problems: what was the significance of the settlement pattern in the area, developed in the earlier Medieval period, for the development of the one in the 9th-11th century; the intensity and cause of the process of erecting forts; to try and evaluate the economic development and significance of the settlements; to juxtapose the concepts of taking advantage of the busy European waterway that is the Danube (east-west) and forming a part of a permanent line of defense (north-south); the effects of the Byzantine military occupation of the area; whether this settlement system collapsed or simply transformed in the wake of the invasions of Nomads and the dire military and economic situation in the 11th century.