Albania Archeology Part I

By | December 15, 2021

Albanian archeology in the last decade has been characterized by greater autonomy and availability of means also following the establishment, in 1976, of the Archaeological Research Center in Tirana and the creation of the National Archaeological Museum of Tirana, separated from 1981 from the Ethnographic Museum. Archaeological research has identified three main themes: the dynamics of the formation of the Illyrian stock; the analytical study of the Illyrian settlements of the Iron Age; the late antique and early medieval testimonies, in order to provide a confirmation of the supposed direct link between Illyrian civilization, Arberi civilization and modern Albanian civilization.

The progress of archaeological research has made it possible to backdate the time of the first human testimonies on Albanian soil: documents relating to the Middle Paleolithic come from the sites of Xara and Shën-Marina, in the Saranda region, and of Rrëzë and Dajtit, near Tirana. The most ancient finds of the Neolithic age come from Vlushë, a site that represents the most remote facies of the Ancient Neolithic, now testified in Albania by at least three cultural phases, defined with the names of the most represented sites: the culture of Burim is characterized by presence of embossed and monochrome red barbotine ceramics, and is associated with the Starčevo i culture of the central Balkans; another phase includes more facies, geographically distinct: Kolsh i in the North-East, Vashtëmi-Podgori i in the South-East, Blaz ii in the North-West and in the center; particularly important is the Podgori site, which revealed seven settlement horizons and three phases of cultural development, with a large amount of white-on-red painted pottery; it is compared to the facies proto- and pre-Sesklo in Thessaly and also characterizes the more recent phase of the Ancient Neolithic, amply testified also by the site in the cave of Blaz, whose finds appear instead similar to the Adriatic types. The conspicuous emergencies of the Ancient Neolithic in Albania therefore characterize the region as an area of ​​suture between the two broad Neolithic cultural spheres, the Balkan-Anatolian and the Adriatic. The most recent excavations in sites already known have then brought new data to the knowledge of the most evolved phases of the Neolithic (Cakran-Dunavec for the Middle Neolithic, the second phase of the inhabited area of ​​Barc for the Recent Neolithic) and that of the Eneolithic (Gradec and Burimas). For Albania 2002, please check

In a moment corresponding to the facies of Maliq iii a (2100-1800 BC), in the Early Bronze Age, there is an ever more decisive tendency to frame the phenomenon of the arrival of Indo-European populations, in unitary migration or successive waves, responsible, more clearly in the context of the Middle Bronze Age, of the process of formation of the proto-Illyrian element, therefore freed from the later attestations of cultural influences of the Fields of Urns. The appearance of cordée ceramics appears to be connected to this phenomenonand important cultural traits pertinent to the burials in tumuli adopted in the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, whose investigation in recent years has been further investigated (see the Kenëte tumuli and those recently excavated in Burrel, dating back to the first phase of the Iron Age, 11th -10th century, and then to the 6th-5th centuries BC) and whose links, in the Bronze Age, with the Aegean Minoan and Mycenaean area, especially for some artifact classes, such as weapons. Exchanges and contacts are also specified, at the end of the Bronze Age, between the two shores of the Adriatic, as was recently demonstrated by the discovery in Toronica di Lezha of a storage room of 124 bronze axes, among which some are worth mentioning. italic types. facies ” devolliana ”, identified in the Albania south-eastern and characterized by painted ceramic with geometric decoration: it, with local variations, extends into the Illyrian Iron Age.

The results of the research carried out in the fortified settlements – of which examples dating back to the Neolithic age are known today – for which periodizations have been proposed to which the definitions of “ pre-urban ” are conventionally attributed, for the sites of the Bronze age, of ” proto-urban ” and ” urban ” for the centers of the Iron Age. About the already known proto-urban phase of the 7th-6th century. the coexistence of components of local Devollian and Mat-Glasinac tradition, the latter linked to the Dardan-Illyrian culture of Kosovo, and of Mediterranean cultural aspects, characterized by the assimilation of Hellenic forms and models, derived from a ‘ intense circulation of goods and manufactured goods in the Illyrian regions. Among the most recent excavations, the evidence of the proto-urban phase of Butroto, whose fortified agglomeration of the 6th century, is worth mentioning. it represents the embryo of the subsequent flourishing urban development, of Badhra, of Margëlliç, of Mashkjeza, of Triport.

Albania Archeology