Archaeologists Have Discovered The 2,000-Year-Old Lost Illyrian City Of Bassania

Bassania was written about by Livy and was most likely destroyed by Octavian Augustus around the 1st century AD.

The 2,000-year-old lost Illyrian city of Bassania discovered in Albania.
Richard Harrington / Getty Images

Bassania was written about by Livy and was most likely destroyed by Octavian Augustus around the 1st century AD.

Archaeologists recently made the remarkable discovery of a lost city when they stumbled upon the 2,000-year-old Illyrian city of Bassania while they were conducting work in the Shkoder region of northwestern Albania.

Livy, the great Roman historian (59 BC – AD 17), once wrote about Bassania and described the fierce battles that were fought between the army of the city’s Illyrian king, Gentius, and invading Roman troops, as Tech Times reports.

Part of the reason why Bassania has only just been discovered is because there was debate as to where the actual location of the lost city was, although it was widely assumed that it could be found close to Lissus, an old colony from Ancient Greek days.

Just recently in May, a group of archaeologists from the University of Warsaw were visiting Albania and decided to take a look at what they believed was simply a natural rock formation jutting up out of the ground. Upon further inspection, they realized they had in fact found a wall that was 3 meters thick that would have once been wrapped around the city of Bassania to protect it.

Professor Dyczek explained that this is a mistake that would be easy to make, especially considering the fact that the 2,000-year-old town looks more like a geological structure than anything created by humans, as Science in Poland reports.

“After centuries of erosion, the remnants of stone structures looming on the surface resemble a natural geological structure coming out onto the surface, rather than structures intentionally built by man.”

Archaeologists have noted that Bassania was also once roughly three times the size of Shkoder, another region that Professor Dyczek said researchers have been focusing on.

“In recent years, we have begun to look around Shkoder for settlements and fortresses that were its economic and military base. Thanks to the use of various methods, including non-invasive ones, we have located relics of a huge ancient city.”

Ceramic artifacts as well as a multitude of different coins have been recovered from this site, with the artifacts found stretching all the way back to the 4th century BC, yet stopping around the 1st century AD.

It has been surmised that the reason for this abrupt stop is because Bassania was almost certainly destroyed by a Roman army fighting under Octavian Augustus.

With the surprising discovery of the 2,000-year-old Illyrian city of Bassania, there will almost certainly be excavation work set up here as archaeologists set about learning more about this ancient and lost city.