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    Polish archaeologists’ new target: Lost ancient city in Albania

    The remains of two large ancient stone buildings on top of a hill near Shkodra in Albania were discovered by archaeologists from Warsaw University. Until a few years ago, it was thought that only natural rocky outcrops were to be found there.

    The discovery of the lost ancient city in northwestern Albania near modern-day Shkodra next to the village of Bushati came unexpectedly in 2018. At that time, the first excavations began.


    As the head of the research Prof. Piotr Dyczek, director of the Antiquity of Southeastern Europe Research Centre at the University of Warsaw, reported to PAP (Polish Press Agency), that this year the excavations covered the highest part of the city, just below the top of the mountain around which its remains are located. On the Albanian side, the research was led by Dr Saimir Shpuza from the Institute of Archaeology in Tirana.


    “During our work in May this year, we uncovered the foundations of two extensive buildings at this location,” Prof Dyczek added.


    The site selected for the excavations was no coincidence, as in 2018 the scientists performed a geophysical survey within the hill, which allows them to look beneath the surface of the earth without the need for physical intervention. Their attention was drawn to structures that resembled solid walls.


    “Although the area has been eroded considerably, we captured the remains of three buildings. Unfortunately, they are mostly preserved in the foundation parts. The solid structures were made of large lightly worked blocks of local conglomerate, creating, without mortar, foundations 90 cm wide. Two-inch structures and a fragment of a third were uncovered. As it seems these were some of the most prominent, visible from a distance, buildings of the ancient city. The first one measures over 20 by over 11 metres and was divided into smaller interiors – probably three,” we can read on the Antiquity of Southeastern Europe Research Centre at the University of Warsaw website.


    “The town was abandoned – no traces survived to indicate its violent end in the form of destruction and burning. After it had been abandoned for the last 2,000 years or so, it eroded and its walls slid down the slopes,” the research leader described. 


    Despite erosion and human activity within the ancient town, archaeologists, fortunately, managed to find fragments of ancient ceramic vessels. Thanks to their analysis, it was established that the hill was inhabited already in the 2nd millennium BC, and it was probably abandoned at the turn of the eras or slightly later.


    For the time being, the scientists are not able to say what function the discovered buildings had. They believe, however, that they are not similar to any others from this area, which makes their identification difficult. However, they were exposed on the hill, so they must have been prestigious.


    Read more about excavations at Bushati here.



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