The site was originally identified as an area of high potential during survey work undertaken ahead of construction. TAP and its cultural heritage contractor Abkons, carried out archaeological rescue activities and uncovered significant cultural heritage remains. Given the importance of the buildings discovered, TAP decided to reroute the pipeline and preserve the site intact.
Lorenc Bejko, Cultural Heritage Expert, TAP Albania, said: “The archaeological excavations uncovered a building, with the oldest remains dating back from the late antiquity (6th century). It was possible to identify some of the spaces used for storage of agricultural and farming products. Close to these areas, the team also identified the remains of a small church, dating from the same period. Above these ruins, during the Ottoman period (17th – 18th centuries) a large residential complex was built, where we were able to identify Turkish baths / hammams.”
The rescue and protection of cultural heritage along the pipeline route is a very important consideration of TAP's work. More than 50 archaeologists and cultural heritage experts have been engaged to continuously monitor the constructions of the pipeline and document all cultural heritage elements to the highest standards. These include the legal requirements of Albania, of the European Union and cultural heritage industry best practice.
To date in Albania, TAP identified nearly 210 sites and cultural monuments near the pipeline route. The number of chance finds during construction activities amounts to 30, and archaeological rescue has been performed in 50% of these cases, with other sites being protected.
Several important discoveries were made, dating from the early Neolithic period to the 18th century, mainly in the area of Korça, Skrapari and Berat. In May 2017, TAP uncovered an ancient settlement near Korçë and, in July 2016, discovered a column capital part of 6th century AD religious monument.