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  • Himara Cave
  • Himarё
  • Albania
  • Vlorë County
  • Bashkia Himarë
  • Bashkia e Himarës



  • The Italian Database is the result of a collaboration between:

    MIBAC (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - Direzione Generale per i Beni Archeologici),

    ICCD (Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione) and

    AIAC (Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica).

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Summary (English)

  • The cave at Himara is situated within a low limestone outcrop along Spilë beach in the middle of the modern town of Himara. It forms the largest of three adjacent cavities, located at the base of a low cliff c. 30 m high and 100 m from the present day shoreline. The cave is over 30 m long with an irregular opening c. 8 m wide and 7 m high, facing west to south west. During this season a 3 × 3 m test pit was excavated along the northern wall of the front section of the cave.

    Excavations at Himara Cave revealed a largely unbroken sequence of deposits recording often intensive human activity at the cave from the Early Bronze Age. Basal deposits of the 2.4 metre sequence are of a typical beach type, reflecting the proximity of the coastline. Present sea-level is 1.30 m below the base of these deposits indicating the change in relative levels, attributable to the sedimentary infilling of the bay and localised tectonic factors. It is clear that the Holocene sea level is likely to have flushed out deposits surviving from earlier prehistoric periods. A radiocarbon date from an overlying hearth feature associated with Copper Age artefacts shows this depositional phase ended c. 3,400 BP. From c. 3,000 BP, the cave sedimentary sequence indicates a generally wetter climate and episodes of ponding. By 2,300 BP conditions turns to be drier.
    The Bronze Age ceramics at Himara show a predominance of local fabrics and it is not until the onset Iron Age and the beginning of the Archaic period when imported wares dominate, indicating that by this time the area was very much part of regional trade networks. The lack of earlier Mycenaean influence is interesting, although not altogether surprising, as a similar lack of Mycenaean presence is recorded on Corfu. The local Bronze Age coursewares of finger impressed and incised decoration share many similarities with regional (Epirote) pottery from sites such as Dodana in north-western Greece. While it is not possible to regard the ceramic assemblage at Himara as typical, since cave sites are often ascribed functions that may colour the assemblage, no evidence to suggest specific usage outside general domestic habitation at this time has been forthcoming.

  • Dave Bescoby - Institute of World Archaeology, The Sainsbury Institute 


  • Ilir Gjipali - Instituti i Arkeologjisë Tiranë, Departamenti i Prehistorisë (Albanian Institute of Archaeology, Department of Prehistory)
  • Karen Francis - CgMs-Consulting Planning and Development, Archaeology and Historic Buildings


  • Emily Glass - University of Bristol
  • Jerry O’Dwyer - Butrint Foundation
  • Nevila Molla - ICAA-International Center for Albanian Archaeology / IWA-Institute of World Archaeology, University of East Anglia
  • Peter Crawley - NAU Archaeology
  • Rovena Kurti - Instituti i Arkeologjisë Tiranë, Departamenti i Prehistorisë (Albanian Institute of Archaeology, Department of Prehistory)
  • Rudenc Ruka
  • Surja Lela - Agjencia e Shërbimit Arkeologjik (Archaeological Service Agency)

Research Body

  • IWA - Institute of World Archaeology, University of East Anglia
  • Instituti Arkeologjik Tiranë (Albanian Institute of Archaeology)

Funding Body

  • Packard Humanities Institute
  • The Institute for Aegean Prehistory


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