The fortress was probably destroyed by the Romans at the beginning of our era. Until now, the ruins of Bassania were considered natural rocks.
The lost city was unexpectedly found in northwestern Albania, in the area of present-day Scutari (Shkodër). According to the researchers, it is probably Bassania - the Illyrian city described by the Roman historian Livy (59 BC - AD 17) in the battles of the Roman troops with the last king of Illyria, Gentius (Genzio).
In May, archaeologists discovered only part of the walls and the door. "The defensive structures were erected by huge well-fitting blocks of stone" - reported the director of the excavations PAP, prof. Piotr Dyczek, director of the Research Center on Antiquities in South-Eastern Europe at the University of Warsaw. The open door was accompanied by two bastions, to which powerful defensive walls more than 3 m led. Their external parts are erected from profiled stone blocks. The space between the stones is filled with small stones and earth.
According to Prof. Dyczek, this type of construction is typical of Hellenistic defensive structures. This dating is also supported by objects discovered by archaeologists near the walls: coins and fragments of ceramic vases from the IV-I century BC This means that the city existed at the time of the Illyrian Kingdom, and that it ceased to exist at the turn of the millennium, after the Roman invasion ...
"In recent years, we have begun to observe around Scutari about settlements and fortresses that constituted its economic and military base. Thanks to the use of various methods, including non-invasive ones, we have identified the remains of a huge ancient city " - explained prof. Dyczek.
With the researchers' surprise, it was realized that the newly discovered city was three times larger than the ancient Scutari - massive stone walls surrounded an area of around 20 hectares.
Researchers question the lack of information on the city in travelers' notes from a few hundred years ago.
"This silence of travelers, who describe other sites, even small sites and individual ruins with extraordinary meticulousness, is rather disconcerting. The reason could be that the city had ceased to exist a long time ago and that its name was forgotten " - suggested the archaeologist in an interview with PAP.
Recent research has confirmed that the end of the existence of the city falls at the beginning of the 1st century AD - at the end of the reign of Emperor Octavian Augustus - and at that time it was abandoned or destroyed during the Roman invasion. "His name could have been forgotten" - says prof. Dyczek.
The ruins of the hill have escaped attention due to its specific geological structure: the hill is made up of conglomerates and sandstones.
"After centuries of erosion, the ruins of the stone structures that can be glimpsed on the surface resemble a natural geological structure, rather than structures intentionally constructed by man" - described the scientist.
This article was originally published in PAP - Polish Press Agency Foundation, Science and culture in Poland . Translation from English: G. LUKA