March 23, 2007

Tumulus Burials from Albania

American Journal of Archaeology

Excavations at the Prehistoric Burial Tumulus of Lofkënd in Albania: A Preliminary Report for the 2004–2005 Seasons

John K. Papadopoulos, Lorenc Bejko, and Sarah P. Morris

Exploration of an Early Iron Age burial tumulus at Lofkënd in Albania offered a unique opportunity to examine the formative period immediately preceding the founding of Greek colonies on the coast and how such a prominent burial place functioned in relation to a particular group, or groups, of people in Illyria. We anticipated that the investigation of a major burial site predating both the colonial foundations and the majority of the so-called protourban centers in the region would lead to a better understanding of the processes that contributed to the rise of urbanism in Illyria. This report presents a preliminary account of the 2004 and 2005 excavation seasons, during which time more than 60 burials were cleared. Mortuary customs are discussed and a brief account of a DNA study is presented. Various finds from the fill of the tumulus and a soil analysis provide important new evidence on tumulus formation. We review the chronology of the site and present the preliminary results of a fully textured three-dimensional model of the mound and its tombs. Comparison with sites to the north and south, particularly in Epirus, may have far-reaching implications for Early Iron Age Albania and Greece.


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