Another Durrës Construction Project Threatens Archeological Heritage

Another project by the Municipality of Durrës is threatening archeological and cultural heritage in the city. The reconstruction work on the 9-year school Marie Kaçulini that is currently underway occurs in protected archeological zone B. For months, this construction work has been executed during the night, on an unlit square and without the presence of archeologists.

Website Amfora raised the alarm about this situation, because the perimeter of the old school also houses a mosaic from the third–fourth century CE, discovered in 1968 by archeologist Vangjel Toçi. The antique decoration, known as “the mosaic near the Sports Palace,” became a Category I Cultural Monument in 1973.

According to the law on protected archeological zones, construction work in this area is only allowed under the supervision of archeologists, not only in order to protect the mosaic, but also because of the possibility of other finds.

Based on monitoring by Amfora during the nights of May 28–June 1, there have been no archeologists present during the work late at night in order to monitor the excavation works. A large quantity of pot shards and remains of ancient objects has been thrown on top of the excavated surface, which it impossible to certify the presence of archeological objects on the surface during the day.

The destruction of the old school building took four months, because the construction company did not have the necessary permits from cultural and archeological heritage institutions. Amfora states:

As with the beginning of the Veliera project, also this project of the Municipality of Durrës didn’t first pass the scrutiny of the National Archeological Council and the National Council of Restorations.

According to the construction project, the new school will have three floors, while it also envisions buildings in the area of the mosaic, where the former school did not have any constructions.

It may very well be possible that the construction process for the new building will follow the same illegal procedures as the Veliera Square, without the presence of archeological experts and without following the necessary procedures to safeguard the cultural heritage of the city.