Project direction: IBAM - CNR in collaboration with the Institute of Archaeology, Centre for Albanian Research, Department of Albanian Antiquities.
Field director: Daniele Malfitana (CNR – IBAM) - Eduard Shehi (Tirana Institute of Archaeology)
Participating bodies: CNR – IBAM; Tirana Institute of Archaeology; Albanian Agency for Rescue Archaeology, Tirana; Regional Office for culture in Durazzo; CNRS, Lyon (C. Abadye-Reynal).
Site location: Durazzo (Albania)
Date of activity: From 2010 onwards
Brief description: In 2010, research and study began in the Roman town of Durazzo, undertaken, using innovative methods and multidisciplinary investigations, by a team of researchers and specialists as part of a four-year collaboration in scientific and technological research. The archaeological mission involves archaeologists, geologists, physicists, topographers, engineers, and photographers specialising in archaeological research applied to the interpretation of the territory. The research aims to increase knowledge of the urban layout and the monumental and residential areas of Roman Durazzo.
Research aimed at reconstructing the plan of the city and its territory has begun thanks to the use of advanced specialist skills in the field of aerial photography, satellite imaging, and remote sensing, as well as accurate research in historical archives and national photographic archives of pictures mainly taken during the two World Wars. Indeed, thanks to a first survey of archive documents, it was possible to identify an extraordinary series of aerial photographs of the modern town taken between 1920 and 1930 and photographs taken by an American spy satellite in the 1960s and 70s.
It was also possible to identify the traces of a Roman villa whose structures are clearly legible. Through georeferencing it was possible to position the residential structure in a heavily built-up area of the modern town. Combining information from aerial photographs and the interpretation of archive documents, in 2010 the research team began a campaign of geophysical investigations.
Excavations and the geophysical survey have documented most of the buried villa’s structures, which correspond exactly with the satellite images and aerial photographs from the first half of last century. The investigations have produced a perfect reading of the buried structures and permitted the programming of excavations to bring to light what remains of the residential structure.
Thanks to the support of the Albanian authorities, an urban archaeology project is now being planned and will begin in coming seasons.
Site typology and date: Hellenistic, Roman and medieval.
Student participants: Yes
Archaeology students taking the course in “Methodologies, material culture and craft working production in the classical world” at Catania University take part in the activities.