Entering Caves – Archaeological fieldwork starts in Albania
The territory of Albania is centered directly within the "Eastern Trajectory" of modern human migrations before, during and after the late glacial maximum. For this reason, the Cologne CRC 806 project started archaeological fieldwork in 2012 in collaboration with the Albanian National Institute of Archaeology.
The most outstanding discovery are several caves in northern Albania near Rrëshen with undisturbed deposits in Jurassic limestone ridges about 300 m a.s.l. Artefacts discovered on the hillslope indicate the presence of Middle and Upper Palaeolithic terrace deposits in front of the caves buried under several meters of Holocene layers. In a small test trench within the entrance area of one of the sites, called Blaz Cave, we discovered Epi-Gravettian remains. Similar artefacts were excavated 170 km to the south in a collapsed cave near Orikum. Together with high-density Mesolithic levels discovered in the site of Shën Mitri (Butrint basin), the 3-week-summer campaign testified the high potential for future Palaeolithic research in these areas.
Blaz Cave 2012
Photo: Ilir Gjipali