EXCAVATING BUTRINT IN LOCKDOWN: BUTRINT 7 PUBLISHED
Lockdown has had its silver lining: working remotely with David Hernandez in South Bend, Indiana, Butrint 7 – a complicated volume bringing together old archaeological reports and an array of modern excavation accounts has now been published. This is the latest of the Butrint Foundation’s monograph series. Unlike the six preceding volumes, monograph 7 focusses upon excavations and surveys in Butrint’s (ancient Buthrotum) hinterland.
Butrint 7 charts how settlement in this Epirote fuvial corridor – the Pavlass valley - evolved from the Palaeolithic to modern communist times. This volume gives prominence for the first time to two important sites, Kalivo and Çuka e Aitoit, which are here reinterpreted and shown to have played major roles in the early history of Butrint as it evolved in the later first millennium BC to emerge as the key city of Chaonia in Epirus. Butrint 7 also presents the full excavation report of the Late Bronze Age and Hellenistic fortified site of Mursi, in addition to other Butrint Foundation surveys and excavations in the hinterland of Butrint, including the Roman villa maritima at Diaporit, the villa suburbana on the Vrina Plain, and Roman sites on Alinura Bay and at the Customs House, as well as new surveys of the Venetian/Ottoman Triangular Fortressand a survey to locate the lost Venetian village of Zarópulo. The volume also features a new study of the Hellenistic bronze statuette of Pan found on Mount Mile and of his sanctuary at Butrint. The volume concludes with a comprehensive reassessment of this quintessential Mediterranean valley in relation to Butrint, from the Palaeolithic to the modern eras, examining how dominion, territory, environment and the ‘corrupting sea’ reshaped Butrint and its fluvial corridor.
Çuka i Aitoit & Pavlass valley
Of all the many different elements of this book, the most immediate in this strange era of the pandemic are the photographs of excavators from the three different eras featured in this archaeologically rich landscape. In the faces of Ugolini’s team in the later 1920s, the Albanian teams of the 1960s and 1970s, and finally those working with the Butrint Foundation in the early years of this millennium, there is palpable pleasure that is presently easily understood and envied.
Luigi Ugolini at Cuka i Aitoit 1929