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

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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