Butrint I Shipwreck Excavations: A Collaborative Effort

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In the course of their first season of surveying the southern coast of Albania in 2007, the RPM Nautical Foundation discovered (among other things) a deposit of about forty amphoras, probably the remains of a shipwreck (currently designated as "Butrint I"). Jeff Royal identified the amphoras as dating to the 3rd century BCE, originating from Corinth or a Corinthian colony. The following summer, the Waitt Institute of Discovery (WID) sent a team of three divers (Derek Smith, Liz Smith, and Joe Lepore) to explore the feasibility of excavating the site. At George Bass' suggestion, Nicolle Hirschfeld, a graduate of the Nautical Archaeology Program and now teaching at Trinity University (San Antonio), was invited to assume leadership of that scouting expedition. Nicolle's Nitrox training was paid for from a fund set up by Claude Duthuit to promote fieldwork in Albania; WID funded all other aspects of the expedition. Nothing could have been accomplished without the active help of Auron Tare, Director for the Promotion of Cultural Heritage, Culture, Tourism and Economical Development for the Capital of Albania, and long an advocate for archaeology, including underwater archaeology, in Albania. Dr. Adriani Anastasi, professor at the University of Tirana and the Director of the Department of Underwater Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, is our collaborator and the official government representative for all underwater projects, including the Butrint survey. Finally, we could not have managed without Adriola Alikaj, our translator and general helpmate. She is just finishing her graduate studies in the department of archaeology at Tirana University.


Institute of Nautical Archaeology


College Station, Texas

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INA Annual