Site - Kanali (rockshelter)

Kanali (rockshelter)

Open Air   archaeology   E 19.449846, N 40.289919  
b1 z2


The flat Holocene floodplain at Vlora Bay on the central Albanian coast is bordered on the south by a lower Cretaceous limestone ridge. Between 150 and 100 masl, the northern foothills of this southeast-northwest stretching ridge, Rreza e Kanali, bears several rock-shelters and some collapsed caves. Holes in the ground and long depressions stretching towards the adjacent plain are remnants of former cave systems that are now barely visible due to the collapses. Previous excavations are known. A first excavation of the CRC 806 was conducted in a joint German-Albanian Project (GAP) in 2012. In order to find in situ sediment of the former cave system two small test trenches (1 x 1 meter) were opened. Former cave deposits were found fifty meters downslope from the main rock-shelter (Kanali II, Trench 1). Light brown to reddish coloured clayey sediments along with stalagmite fragments are the main residues which appear to be accumulated within a closed cave system (Layers 2a to 5). The slope of the ridge, the documented layers and the irregular distribution of calcite fragments in the sediment indicate major displacement. The lack of lithic material in Trench 1 is also best explained by erosion. However, lithic artifacts were found scattered on the ridge, with a major concentration in the topsoil in Layer 1. A few dispersed items were present in Layers 2a and 2b. The origin of the artifacts may be upslope. Kanali 1 Trench 2, a second small text-excavation (1 x 1 m) was conducted c. 3 m north-eastern from Trench 1. Although Trench 2 was set up close to a obviously collapsed cave system it did not yield any archaeological remains.
In 2014 Kanali archaeological investigations were continued at Kanali. Two main tasks were conducted to get further insights into the collapsed karstic system. Trench 1 was extended with the intention to gain further information about the sedimentation processes. Subsequently, an extensive topographic measurement survey was realised to record data for a GIS (Geo-Information-System) based analysis of the former karstic system.


  • German-Albanian Palaeolithic Project (2012)

    Start of excavation.
  • German-Albanian Palaeolithic Project (2014)

    Excavation was continued.

Back to researchsites