The settmement pattern during the late bronze and early iron age around the small lake of Prespa


  • Esmeralda Agolli


The paper brings into discussion the settlement pattern developed during the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age around the Small Lake of Prespa by considering archaeological evidence collected recently in the cave of Tren. Background from several other sites including, Sovjan and Maliq and those of Lofkënd and Grunas are as well considered. The first part focuses on a reevaluation of the cave of Tren, combining data collected from the seasons 1966 and 1967 with those of most recent explorations of season 2015. The excavations in Room 2 inside the cave offered abundant evidence of pottery, metals, animal bones and seeds. Traces of intensive
firing were recorded at every excavated trench. However, due to the highly limited access, rough environment and high humidity, we have concluded that this space does not offer any conditions for permanent living. Perhaps the domestic use of this highly protected spot could be associated with storage purposes or a shelter used only temporarily. Indeed the new explorations in the cave did not contribute a great extent to pinpoint dwelling structures to be integrated with a settlement. However when combined with evidence collected from the survey around the cave this data contributes to better understandi the use, exploration, and occupation. The area around the Small Lake of Prespa offers an insightful evidence in a space that during Late Bronze and Early Iron Age has been intensively used for domestic purposes. The space around the lake with the fortifications in Trajan, Ventrok and Shuec as well as the data associated with domestic use inside and out the cave of Tren do indicate significant human presence during the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age. The modification of environment that takes place around the lake, speaks for a community that is dispersed around at various spots and relies heavily on the natural resources (agriculture and fishing) and takes advantage of the strategic and highly protected location of the lake. The second part offers a discussion on the question of settlement pattern at other sites like those of Maliq, Sovjan, Lofkënd and Grunas. Each site has yielded a specific context, in which the enviromental conditions, natural resources and demographic factors have an immense impact. I argue that rather than being conventionally analysed based solely on the properties of material culture, each site must be treated separately with a close inspection on the dynamics of environment, resurces and of course the use and modification of space.


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How to Cite

Agolli, E. (2023). The settmement pattern during the late bronze and early iron age around the small lake of Prespa. Iliria, 40(40), 39–57. Retrieved from