From: Alice Taylor
Special Fund Created to Evaluate Earthquake Reconstruction Land for Archaeological Value

The Albanian government has dedicated a “special fund” from the earthquake reconstruction fund to ascertain whether areas that will be built on, have any archaeological value.

The National Institute of Cultural Heritage will be the implementing unit who will contract service for drafting reports on archaeological observation in 24 new development zones. Once this has been complete, work on construction can start.

Areas that will be evaluated include sites in Durres, Lezhe, Kruja, Lac, Thumane, Shijak, Kavaja, Fushe Kruje, Bubq, Vora, Marikaj, Golem, and several areas within Tirana.

These studies are an obligation under Albanian law. In some areas of Durres and Lezhe, special permission for construction is required due to the prevalence of archaeological sites.

The report will include a geographical description including topography, geology, natural resources and biodiversity. It will also include photographs taken during the archaeological investigations. 

There is a time limit set of 90 days and a budget of 25.6 million ALL.

BIRN previously found that a number of actual or potential cultural heritage sites were damaged or built over in violation of the law, during the COVID-19 lockdown. It was found that the obligated archaeologists and supervisors from the Institute and a company contracted by them to monitor the sites, were not present when they should have been. Furthermore, a contracted private archaeologist didn’t report any findings on a site that was observed to contain archaeological ruins.

Residents in Durres said work on one site had commenced at 5am two days before the supervisory archaeologist was on site.