Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Amid Albanian Turmoil, UC Archaeologists Glean Secrets Of The Stone Age

Date:
December 7, 1998
Source:
University Of Cincinnati
Summary:
Despite U.S. State Department warnings against unnecessary travel in Albania, a team led by University of Cincinnati and Albanian archaeologists launched a field study about 60 miles south of Tirana in summer 1998. Their quest is to learn more about a Greek colony that flourished at the end of the second century B.C., but the team instead has found an unexpected abundance of artifacts left from another era: the Stone Age, the period associated with the earliest known chipped stone tools plus a possible Neanderthal site.

Cincinnati -- Despite U.S. State Department warnings against unnecessary travel in Albania, a team led by University of Cincinnati and Albanian archaeologists launched a field study about 60 miles south of Tirana in summer 1998. Their quest is to learn more about a Greek colony that flourished at the end of the second century B.C., but the team instead has found an unexpected abundance of artifacts left from another era: the Stone Age, the period associated with the earliest known chipped stone tools plus a possible Neanderthal site.

UC archaeologist Jack L. Davis, co-director of the UC-Albanian team, traveled to Albania this month to report the project's first findings at a two-day conference in Tirana marking the 50th anniversary of the Academy of Science's Institute of Archaeology, UC's partner in the project. Davis and the team began field work in the Apollonia region of Albania in May and June 1998 and will continue work June 15-July 15, 1999.

"We had no idea we would be walking into all this prehistoric evidence," Davis said. "Such a widespread distribution of artifacts from the Stone Age era, in particular, indicates that this area of central Albania has the potential to rank among the larger open air Stone Age sites in Europe. Most Neanderthal and Stone Age sites are inside caves."

Davis views the mission to explore Albania's archaeological history as urgent and opted to launch the field project last summer despite the turmoil that has plagued the nation and ethnic fighting on its northern border. Davis plans to survey in the Mallakastra (Fier-Patos-Ballsh) region about a four-hour drive south of Tirana before commercialism and looting interfere with the region's historic remains. His work so far has been funded by the Louise Taft Semple Fund at UC.

The team's 1998 findings in central Albania represent the only documented discovery in Albania in the past 50 years of pre-Neolithic artifacts found lying out in the open rather than inside caves, Davis said, adding it is the first such finding in central Albania.

Davis and project co-director Muzafer Korkuti of the Institute of Archaeology in Tirana led a 14-member team in the Mallakastra Regional Archaeological Project (MRAP), using an archaeological technique called field surface survey. This approach records and collects artifacts found as team members walk along the ground in rows. Far less expensive than excavation, a survey allows archaeologists to gain an understanding of a larger region over a vast span of time.

The Davis/Korkuti team covered a 1.8-square-mile area. The team identified 15 previously unknown areas with artifacts and designated them sites earmarked for further investigation. The team also investigated the Apollonian settlement area and cemetery.

Two of the sites discovered are Paleolithic (Stone Age), one of which may have served as a Neanderthal home base. Scattered through the region, the team discovered 409 "lithics," or remnants of prehistoric tools, including 14 associated with the mid- Paleolithic period (between approximately 200,000 and 35,000 years ago). Most of these 14 stone tools are made using a technique usually associated with the Neanderthals called Levallois.

Another batch of 73 lithics might also be the product of Neanderthals, but the team will not be able to say that with certainty until further investigation next summer.

The abundance of stone tool remnants from the Paleolithic period may help answer questions about the introduction of farming into Europe, Davis said. The Paleolithic and Mesolithic eras spanning from 750,000 to 11,000 years ago represent a time before agriculture began. It was about 8,000 years ago that modern man's relatives in the Neolithic Age are known to have grown crops and domesticate animals. A portion of the tool remnants Davis and Korkuti's team found are Mesolithic, a transitional phase prior to the advent of farming.

Other Albanians on the team included Skender Mucaj of Fier; Lorenc Bejko of Tirana; and Mentor Mustafa, a student at Boston University. In addition to Davis, the rest of the team included Sharon Stocker, UC doctoral student; Michael Galaty of Mississippi State University; John Wallrodt of UC; Charles Watkinson, a British archaeologist; Eberhard Zangger, a German geoarchaeologist.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Cincinnati. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Cincinnati. "Amid Albanian Turmoil, UC Archaeologists Glean Secrets Of The Stone Age." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 December 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981207072433.htm>.
University Of Cincinnati. (1998, December 7). Amid Albanian Turmoil, UC Archaeologists Glean Secrets Of The Stone Age. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981207072433.htm
University Of Cincinnati. "Amid Albanian Turmoil, UC Archaeologists Glean Secrets Of The Stone Age." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981207072433.htm (accessed September 14, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Museum Traces Fragments of Star-Spangled Banner

Museum Traces Fragments of Star-Spangled Banner

AP (Sep. 12, 2014) — As the Star-Spangled Banner celebrates its bicentennial, Smithsonian curators are still uncovering fragments of the original flag that inspired Francis Scott Key's poem. (Sept. 12) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — New research has shown that the Spinosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur, might have been just as well suited for life in the water as on land. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Meet Spinosaurus, the First-Known Water Dinosaur

Meet Spinosaurus, the First-Known Water Dinosaur

AFP (Sep. 11, 2014) — Spinosaurus aegyptiacus was adapted for both land and water, and an exhibit featuring a life-sized model, based on new fossils unearthed in eastern Morocco, opens at the National Geographic Museum in Washington on Friday. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NatGeo Unveils Life-Size 'Spinosaurus'

NatGeo Unveils Life-Size 'Spinosaurus'

AP (Sep. 11, 2014) — Scientists announced new findings about the first ever non-bird dinosaur that could have lived much of its time in the water. National Geographic created a life-size 50-foot model of the prehistoric creature. (Sept. 11) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins