Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


15 February 2010

Early prehistoric landscape and landuse in the Fier region of Albania

Curtis Runnels, Muzafer Korkuti, Michael L. Galaty, Michael E. Timpson, Sharon R. Stocker, Jack L. Davis, Lorenc Bejko & Skënder Muçaj Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 22.2 (December 2009): 151-182.


Little was known until recently about regional patterns of early prehistoric occupation in Albania, making it difficult to situate the Albanian record within existing, general models of early prehistoric landuse. An intensive regional survey, the Mallakastra Regional Archaeological Project (MRAP), carried out in the Fier region of central Albania from 1998-2003, gathered widespread evidence for human occupation during the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods, from the Myzeqe Plain to the Mallakastra hills. The Pleistocene and early Holocene landscape of Fier differed considerably from the present landscape, and at times the Adriatic shoreline was much farther inland than it is now. As a consequence, Palaeolithic and Mesolithic foragers were able to exploit coastal-wetland and estuarine environments that have been buried only recently by alluvial sediment as a result of river avulsion and soil erosion. The landscape studied by MRAP is only a fragment of the total landscape once exploited by early humans in this part of the Balkans, whose home range may have included much of soutwest Albania and parts of northwest Greece. Our reconstruction of early prehistoric landuse in central Albania, based on collection and mapping of the locations of 1593 lithic artifacts from a 35 sq km area, indicates patterns of logistical foraging that span the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic and match those modeled in other Mediterranean countries, such as Greece.


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