ALBANIE. Settlement and territory in the Balkan West (4th-15th centuries: Medieval sites of Komani, Sarda and Lezha, in Albania

  • Section: Middle Ages
  • Directors: Etleva Nallbani, researcher CNRS-UMR 8167, Orient et Méditerranée [East and Mediterranean]; Elvana Metalla, researcher, archaeological institute of Tirana.


The research programme is based on the results of the archaeological programme "Settlements and territories in the Balkan West, 4th-11th centuries", conducted in partnership with the EFR from 2011 to 2016, and devoted to the study of two medieval sites from the lower Drin Valley, Lezha and Komani.

The new programme has recently expanded with the integration of a third site, the bishopric of Sarda (Shurdhah Island) on the Drin river. Ongoing research is focused on the completion of the study of excavation results in the upper town of Lezha (citadel and extra-mural necropolis with its churches) and the development of planned excavations in Komani and Sarda.

The study aims to define the organization and use of these sites within their own territory and to understand the comparative regional models for the organisation of housing and settlement during the Middle Ages.

Key words

Adriatic; Albania; Drin Valley; Dalmatia (Komani); Sarda (Shurdhah); Lezha; Late antiquity; Middle Ages; church ; habitat; ecclesial complex; necropolis; anthropology; settlement history.


Scientific partners

  • École française de Rome
  • Archaeological Institute of Tirana
  • Labex RESMED
  • Laboratoire d'archéologie préhistorique et anthropologie [Laboratory of prehistoric archaeology and anthropology] (Geneva)
  • UMR 8167 Orient et Méditerranée [East and Mediterranean]
  • UMR 7264 CEPAM
  • Association ArkeoDrin


Other collaborators

  • INED
  • IRAMAT, UMR 5060 Centre Ernest-Babelon
  • CADDAP (Direction de l’Archéologie Préventive de la Communauté d’Agglomération de Douaisis [(Department of Preventive Archeology of the Douaisis Agglomeration Community)], Douai
  • Mission archéologique franco-albanaise d’Apollonia [Franco-Albanian archaeological mission of Apollonia]
  • Ministry of Culture of Albania
  • DRKK (Regional Directorate of National Culture) of Shkodër and Korça
  • Archaeological Park of Lezha
  • Archaeological Museum of Tirana
  • Marubi Photo Library Museum, Shkodra
  • University of Tirana
  • Research Center for the Antiquity of Southeastern Europe de l’Université de Varsovie
  • Fondation Partners Albania for change and Development
  • Mayor of  Vau I Dejës


In 2017

  • April 2017: Exhibition at the Museum of the Marubi photo library in Shkodra on the archaeological heritage of the Drin Valley
  • July 2017: Excavations on the site of Sarda (island of Shurdhah)
  • August 2017: Excavations on the site of Dalmace (Komani)

In 2018

  • 24 July-29 August 2018: Excavations at Komani and Sarda

  • End November–beginning December 2018: Operation Lidar

    Page translated from French, 2020/04/01

    European and national Programmes (ERC, ANR)

    Laboratoire International Associé (LIA)