EU4Schools Builds back better and helps preserve cultural heritage for future generation
February 18, 2023
"Excavation Uncovers important Ancient Structures and Artefacts, Shedding New Light on Durrës' Pre-Roman and Roman History".
As the first rays of sunlight illuminated Durrës, archaeologist Iris Pojani stood in awe at the construction site of the "Eftali Koçi" 9-year school. Excitement filled her as she gazed upon the site, where recent demolition efforts brought to light several significant archaeological finds. These discoveries had prompted a full-scale excavation, and Iris was eager to uncover the secrets buried beneath the soil.
As a result of the historic finds, the National Council of Cultural Heritage mandated that any uncovered structures must be protected in their original state. This presented a challenge for the construction of the "Eftali Koçi" 9-year school, as it required the relocation of the building and a rethinking of its design. Adherence to Legal Protocols helped ensure the Preservation of Cultural Heritage and Mitigated Threats to Archaeological Site during Planning.
As she supervised the rescue excavation, the team of archaeologists was thrilled to be part of such a unique project. She marvelled at the ancient ruins being uncovered, feeling the rich history of the once-thriving city.
During her tour, Iris made a remarkable discovery: a piece of a map intricately carved with details of the city's past. She quickly realized its significance as it showed the division of the city into different spaces such as urban, funerary, and sacred areas, and provided valuable information about the city's early history and extent of its surrounding agricultural lands.
Over the next few months, Iris and the team worked tirelessly to uncover more secrets of the city and unearthing Durrës' Hidden Treasures". She discovered urban and extra-urban sanctuaries, highlighting the city's religious significance, as well as a complex system of roads and buildings, showcasing its impressive urban planning. Her findings added valuable knowledge to the city's history and emphasized the importance of preserving cultural heritage.
Iris was committed to conducting the excavation with precision and care. All artifacts were meticulously documented and preserved to the highest standards.
After presenting the findings, the Ministry of Culture decided to preserve the complete Archaic Hellenistic-era fortification wall and tower and relocate the school's foundation to an unoccupied area of the site. To allow visitors to admire the discoveries without disrupting the students' learning environment, a separate entrance was designed specifically for visiting purposes.
"Iris' Joy Unfolded as EU4Schools Project Interweaved Archaeological Finds into City's Story, Building an Educational Museum within School Grounds".
What are the main discoveries made so far?
Other than the wall structures many artefacts were collected on the site during the archaeological excavation. The specialists are now working trying to process the finds. Various ceramic wares like amphoras (large containers) and large amounts of lids are selected. Black figure and red figure vases dated to the 5th century are found together with lamps, various wares and shapes.
Terracotta figurines of human and animal subjects are well attested.
A story of development that integrates urban archaeology
In November of 2022, the excavation at the new site, prior to the rebuilding of the "Eftali Koçi" 9-year school. Now the excavation process was completed, and the reconstruction of the school is set to proceed promptly upon its completion, in accordance with the law.
The discoveries made during the excavation have shed new light on the ancient society that once lived in the area, providing valuable insight into their cultural and economic practices. The dedicated archaeological team continues to work tirelessly to process the finds and explain the unknown story of the site.
During a recent visit to the excavation site, UNDP Resident Representative Monica Merino expressed her pride in the project, stating: “The EU4Schools project is more than just the construction of a school. It represents a commitment to preserving and sharing Durrës' rich cultural heritage for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. We are proud to know that this educational facility not only provides better opportunities for children, teachers, and the community, but also protects the city's cultural heritage."
The school will offer its students a unique and immersive learning experience, surrounded by the rich history of their city.
As Iris leaves the site, she knows that the school will serve as a symbol of Durrës' resilience and as a testament to the importance of preserving cultural heritage for future generations to enjoy and learn from.
****EU4Schools Programme is the biggest EU investment in education in Albania. With an amount of Euro 75 Million, 63 education institutions are being reconstructed or repaired benefitting around 25,000 pupils, children, teachers. EU4School Programme is implemented by UNDP in Albania.