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Excavation

  • Himara Cave
  • Himarё
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    • 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).

    • AIAC_logo logo

    Summary (English)

    • The investigations of 2003 along with those of the previous year, undertaken at the Himara cave, extended over an area of 3 × 2 m, comprising 6 trenches of 1 × 1 m. The excavation revealed new and significant data regarding the history of the Himara bay and the origin of the cave’s deposits, the flora, fauna and the environment, the additional habitation layers, and the absolute and relative dating, which relied on the C14 analyzes.
      The stratigraphy demonstrates the existence of several habitation layers, spanning from the Bronze Age until the Later Roman period. As suggested by the lack of the discovery of stable living structures, the cave was used as a temporary settlement, at shorter periods of time.
      The lithic finds of atypical shapes found at the lower layers (0, 80, 088, 099 and 100), hamper the definition of their dating. The flint chips discovered at the upper level of layer 100 (a gravel deposit, considered as the cave’s bedrock, above which soil deposits were laid), in terms of their shape and dimensions seems to belong to the Mesolithic time. Few artefacts, consisting of fine and thick-walled wares and two bone fragments, one of which seem to be part of a pin, were uncovered in the US 094 and 099, above the bedrock level. The outer parts of the uncovered pottery vessels are slip- painted and decorated in dense finger pinchings, a decoration technique used since the Bronze Age. Among the pottery finds, a fragment decorated with dark brown paint on the natural ochre to light brown surface of the vessel was distinguished. It seems to be an imported pottery, probably from a centre at Greece and might date to the end of the Middle Mycenaean (MM II b), or the beginning of the Late Mycenaean period (LM), which cover the 16-15th Centuries BC (Late Bronze Age). The excavation of the upper layer (US 088), revealed only locally hand made ceramic vessels of well-baked clay mixed with fine sand. The discovered fragments seem to belong to medium and large size vessels. Infrequent fine wares painted in slip were also found in this layer. All the materials discovered are dated at the Late Bronze Age (14-11th Centuries BC).
      The successive layer (080) contained locally hand made ceramic vessels, some of which were painted with bitumen at their both sides, typical decoration of the Early Iron Age (11 – 9th Centuries BC.)
      US 035 and 038 relates to a layer which contained numerous pottery fragments of various shapes (rims, handles, bases) of local production (cooking pottery) and imports (mainly Corinthian and Corcyrean cups, kotyle, skyphos, kylix, etc., of black varnish), which date from the end of the 7th Century to the beginning of 5th Century BC.
      Among the ceramic materials, especially in the layer of the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods, an increased presence of imported materials, coming mainly from Greek and Italian centres, but also from closer territories, such as Apollonia, was noticed.

    Director

    • 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

    Team

    Research Body

    • Butrint Foundation
    • Instituti Arkeologjik Tiranë (Albanian Institute of Archaeology)

    Funding Body

    • Packard Humanities Institute

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