Archaeological sites in ALBANIA
For the duration of 435-404 B.C. Epidamnos is involved in the Peloponnesian War, as the people (demos) expelled the men of influence (dynatoi) who were in their turn helped by the native nearby Illyrians and attacked the city back. After the war we also attest the transition of the name from Epidamnos to Dyrrachion. This was changed the political and economic relations of the city which is well documented in the archaeological record. During the 3rd century B.C. the relations of the city with the Illyrians was prospering, while Illyrian names account about 30% of all names engraved in grave stones found during excavations in and around the city.
The largest of all public buildings were constructed in Dyrrachium during the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. The amphitheater, partially excavated starting since 1960, has a seating capacity estimated between 15.000-20.000 people and is situated on the middle of the modern city, while other important buildings are the public baths of the 2nd century A.D. discovered in 1966, the remains of the aqueduct about 15 km long, built during the reign of Hadrian, the Byzantine walls and the round forum-macellum, build in the 5th-6th centuries A.D.
One of the most interesting finds from the city is the "Bukuroshja e Durrësit" the beauty of Durres mosaic, situated at the National Historic Museum in Tirana. The mosaic belongs to the 4th century B.C., and it is definitely one of the most beautiful of its kind in Albania.In the 9th century A.D. the Theme of Dyrachium is created, one of the two themes in the western Balkans, while in 1071 and 1081 the Normans attacked the city. From 1204 the city came under the Venetians and in 1501 the Ottomans managed to take it
Referring to the construction technique and the pottery, this fortification wall dates to the 4-3 century B.C. There are indications that archeological remains found earlier on the site, date to the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age, indicating that the site dates earlier to the 3 century B.C. The interruption of life in Gorica is strongly connected with roman occupation in the 2nd century B.C.
Archaeologists, based on the construction techniques and surface finds date this citadel to the 4th century B.C. To this period also belong large quantities of pottery fragments found on the southern side of the hill that may be related with the existence of a pottery kiln.
The fortress of Vokopola
The mosaic inside the basilica, covers a surface of about 54 m, and is well maintained despite a small damaged part at the southern part. An important addition to the finds are the architectonic sculptural remains that date to the 5-6 centuries A.D. The numismatic material that has been found at the Arapaj Basilica is also rich and dates from the 5-th century A.D until the 13th-14th centuries A.D., thus showing that the basilica was in use for about 10 centuries.
The Monumental Tombs of Selca e Poshtëme
This archaeological site is located 1,040 meters above sea level. Five monumental tombs in Ionic style have been excavated there. Four of them have been carved into tunnels. They are very rare in the Balkan Peninsula but can often be found in Southern Italy. A great number of personal possessions in gold and filigree have been found there.
The city was built on a hill in a 10 hectare area. Strong 1,400 m long walls protected it although only 90 m survive to date. The acropolis takes up one third of the area. Among the terracotta excavated here, the small marble statue of Artemis is particularly beautiful. The ancient city flourished for three or four centuries but then was abandoned on the second century A.D.
After the gothic invasions, in the 5th century A.D., an archbishopric was built inside the castle, while during the reign of Justinian the castle was fortified by his direct orders. During the late 6th century A.D. the city was heavily damaged by Slavic invasions and many citizens left to the island of Sazan across the bay of Vlora, where traces of a settlement of that period have been found. The name Aulon reappears in 1082 and 1205 in Byzantine documents but its importance is diminished and other centers nearby overshadow the city.
Inside the fortified area buildings of the Roman and Late Roman period have been found.
The most representative period of funerary activities dates in the Iron Age, especially between the 7th-5th centuries B.C.
The cave settlements of Himara
The fortified settlement of Karos near Qeparo
The main defense line follows the natural contours and has an entrance (1.8 m wide) placed in the middle, facing the east side. This wall is 340 m long and 3 m wide. The best preserved height is 1.5m.Behind the entrance are two more defense lines with the aim of reinforcing it.The material collected from the archaeological excavations give a wide dating range starting from the Early Iron Age to the 4th century A.D.
The Kratul fortification
Three gates which served for communication have been identified. Two of them are across each other respectively on the north and south side, while the third one is on the east side. From a typological point of view the Kratul fortification is similar to that of Gajtan,
although there are substantial changes in plan such as towers and the regular elliptic shape, which make it an interesting site. So far, there have been no trace of houses found inside the settlement. The archaeological material indicates that life at the settlement is active from the Early Iron Age until the 1st century A.D.