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Excavation

  • Theatre of Phoinike
  • Finiq
  • Phoinike
  • Albania
  • Qarku i Vlorës
  • Delvinë District

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Summary (English)

  • The investigations of 2009 carried out in the theatre of the ancient city of Phoinike were located in four trenches of different dimension and at two large scale excavations.
    The opening of trench 14 next to the southern wall of the western parodos of the theatre, intended to reveal materials from the layers abutting the structure, and understand if the parodos belongs to the first or the second phase of the Hellenistic period.
    The soil layers up to the floor level of parodos contained pottery remains of the Roman period (1st – 3rd Centuries AD). The upper levels of these layers seem to relate to the reconstruction time of the structure, after the earthquake of the early 3rd Century AD. Below it, layers with materials of the Hellenistic period (3rd – 2nd Centuries BC) were revealed, which seem to belong to the construction phase of the parodos. The dating of the material suggests that the parodos was constructed during the theatre’s second phase as the enlargement of the orchestra led to the expansion of the proskenion.
    In order to discover parts of the tiered seating, trench 15 (1, 5 × 1, 5 m) was opened in the theater’s koilon. The excavation revealed the in situ slabs used for holding the feet and enabling the passageways, whiles the parallelepiped seating stone blocks were found not in their original place, perhaps shifted for being re-used as building material elsewhere. The stair blocks were also missing due to the same reason.
    The excavations in the theatre’s orchestra were located at the eastern analemma, where a long trench (trench 17, measuring to 5 m x 1, 5 m) was dug. It intended to identify the preeminent part of the analemma, which until now was filled with soil deposits. Under the deposit, to a depth of 50 cm, a part of this structure was revealed; it was badly preserved to a length of 3, 5m. The upper stone rows (partly preserved) did not appear to rise up gradually, as a structure of this type should normally stand; on the contrary, due to the damage scale, it continued following the same standing level. The anomaly occurred, relate also to the increasing hill slope and soil deposits at the most preeminent part of the analemma.
    Trench 16 was dug in the theatre’s summa cavea, in the vicinity of a circular structure of the Byzantine period, initially revealed during 2006 field season. The discovery during that year of a 3-2nd Centuries BC pottery layer, mixed with shells and bones remain was interpreted as a midden but contextually related to the Byzantine structure and the Hellenistic wall at the back part of the koilon. The excavations of this year noticed two different construction phases at the Byzantine structure, which was most likely a kiln: the construction of the first phase (floor level and the surrounding wall) was built with reused rectangular and curved bricks of the Hellenistic period, probably taken from a nearby grave; in the second phase the structure was rearranged (preserving the same function), and the brick masonry was replaced by a stone block construction. The excavations undertaken to the north of the kiln revealed the theatre entrance which consisted of two wall lines of sandy stone blocks. Abundant materials of the Hellenistic period were uncovered in the demolishing and the filling layers of the theatre’s door entrance. Some of the pottery vessels were almost completely preserved, which confirmed the hypothesis that this layer might have slipped down due to the demolishing of the terracing structures. The presence of the funerary pottery vessels (pelike of the first half of the 4th Century BC.), graves curved tiles and remains of human skeletons, suggest for the existence of a cemetery, earlier in date then the theatre, located above the supporting wall of the koilon.

Director

  • Sandro De Maria - Università degli Studi di Bologna, Dipartimento di archeologia
  • Shpresa Gjongecaj - Albanian Institute of Archaeology

Team

  • Riccardo Villicich - Universita degli Studi di Bologna

Research Body

  • Instituti Arkeologjik Tiranë (Albanian Institute of Archaeology)
  • Università degli Studi di Bologna “Alma Mater Studiorum”, Dipartimento di Archeologia

Funding Body

  • Ministero degli Affari Esteri, Italia
  • Università degli Studi di Bologna “Alma Mater Studiorum”, Dipartimento di Archeologia

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