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Proceedings I-Thea Project: Multiday theory and practice classes in the field of archaeology

Proceedings of Multiday theory and practice classes in the field of archaeology.


This publication was produced by RCDC upon the completion of the Multiday Theory and Practice Classes conducted from the 11th till the 13th of November 2021, in the UNESCO city of Gjirokastër, Albania.

It contains all the didactic material used for the purpose of these courses as well as the papers produced by the students during their practice.

This 3-days training in the domain of archaeology marked an important activity of the i-THEA project (https: // extending) successfully accomplished by the Regional Center for Development and Cooperation RCDC ( with the support of the Albanian Centre for Education, Tourism and Entrepreneurship-CEAPAL. The classes were professionally conducted by a group of renowned professors and experts with a distinctive academic and teaching contribution in the domain of Archaeology. These experts shaped the course contents based on identified priority needs of university students of History, Archaeology, Architecture and other related fields.

The public universities of Gjirokastër, Tirana and Durrës, respectively the main higher education institutions that specialize in History and Archaeology studies, were judged as the main target source of training participants. A well-designed set of selection criteria and process generated a group of 15+ talented students. Prior consultation with the key experts let to the conclusions that students’basic needs of training, especially onsite trainings are rarely met by the universities therefore these classes would be of highdemand amongst them.

One of these needs that would be commonly satisfied by the training was the critical lack of surface archaeological survey that required knowledge and skills crucial to both students of archaeology and architecture. The later great interest was justified as related to the respective branch of landscape architecture established at the Polytechnic University of Tirana.

The main theme of these classes was “Intensive Surface Survey” and they were hosted in a combined environment of the UNESCO city of Gjirokastër and the ancient sites of Handrianopolis & Paleokastra both situated in Gjirokastër suburbs, while organizers secured online delivery via the Zoom Platform. The last day of this activity, Saturday November 13, 2021 was dedicated to the public. During this day the audience, mainly tourism stakeholders from the region of Gjirokastër had the opportunity to appreciate the results achieved by the students during the 2 days of theory and practice, through papers prepared and presented by the students.

I. Intensive surface survey, a short historic introduction of the Albanian experience

Dr. Ols Lafe-Ph.D. in Cultural Heritage Management

The purpose of attending the first day of the training was to complete the basic scientific and practicalknowledge of the intensive archaeological surface survey. Never before 1991, had Albanian archaeologists attempted to conduct an intensive surface survey such as the ones where, local archaeologists in neighboring Greece in collaboration with foreign universities, have witnessed since the early 1970’s. This is a new element in Albanian archaeology and we can say for certain that some aspects of it were first introduced in the country by the ByzantineButrint project (1994-), a joint Albanian-British partnership conducting archaeological research at the ancient site of Butrint, in southern Albania, just across the Corfu straits. This was the first survey in Albanian territory using some intensive methods of research but was not the last. It was followed by more surveys in other areas, such as the large scale, intensive surface survey of MRAP (1998- 2003), but also DRAP (2001), SVP (2005-) and KOBAS (2005-).

This historical development of survey was complemented by the methodological and techniques used in an intensive survey where the example of one survey conducted for development reasons was brought to discussion. The use of compass, technical data sheet, tape, GIS and aerial photo were all illustrated step by step for the participants, highlighting the importance of such steps.

This presentation introduces the audience to the preparation process that is undertaken before the survey as well as the actions while surveying: It analyses the importance of this step-by-step process extending from permit to implementation.

Teams of 4-5 members are usually the most efficient in terms of managing the tasks and actions they have been appointed varying from obtaining permission, gathering information on previous projects.

These teams usually conduct surveillance missions following to the standard procedure placing the finds in dedicated containers bags and have tags with the tract number, dateand project name, to avoid possible confusion with other materials.

After the survey, lab work and data entry:

Usually only diagnostic fragments are collected (edges, skirts, handles and walls with decoration).

After cleaning and counting the findings are photographed and sketched. Projects commonly use FileMaker Pro.


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Regional Center for Development and Cooperation RCDC in the frame of i-Thea Project.
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Case Study
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