Abstract: Adventures in Illyria: Greece and its Northern Neighbors from Later Prehistory to the Rise of Urbanism

Lecturer: John Papadopoulos

This lecture begins with an overview of the archaeology of Illyria (Albania) from the Late Bronze Age to the Hellenistic era. It also provides a summary of the excavations (2004-2008) at the remarkable prehistoric burial tumulus of Lofkënd in Albania. The exploration of an undisturbed tumulus such as Lofkënd offered a unique opportunity to examine the formative period immediately preceding the founding of Greek colonies on the coast and how such a prominent burial place functioned in relation to a particular group, or groups, of people in Illyria. Comparison with sites to the north and south, particularly in Epirus and Macedonia, has far-reaching implications not only for the later prehistory of Greece and much of the Balkans, but also for the historical era over a much wider area. Tumuli are discussed as “monuments” in every sense of the word: as structures deliberately designed and built over an extended period of time as a focus of memory and identity. More than all this, Illyria, together with neighboring Epirus and Macedonia, became the crucible of Greek political activity in the 4th & 3rd centuries BC and a key player in the rise of urbanism in the Mediterranean that paved the way for later mega cities, such as Rome


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

J.K. Papadopoulos, L. Bejko, and S.P. Morris, “Excavations at the Prehistoric Burial Tumulus of Lofkënd in Albania: A Preliminary Report for the 2004-2005 Seasons,” American Journal of Archaeology 111, 2007, 105-147

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Tim Pauketat is an archaeologist and professor of Anthropology and Medieval Studies at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. He previously taught at the State University of New York in... Read More

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