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Dimal in Illyria - Investigations on the Ancient Settlement History


Dimal (or Dimallon) was a city in the mountains of Illyria in the hinterland of the Greek port city of Apollonia in modern day Albania. The hilltop settlement might have existed since the Iron Age and formed one of the main sites of the people of the Parthini. It flourished between the 4th to 1st c. BC. It was heavily fought over in the 1st Macedonian War because it is situated on the mountains overlooking the Myzequija plain with the Via Egnatia coming from Apollonia and continuing to the south. It came under Roman rule in 205 BC. It had two phases of structural expansion: the settlement of the 4th / 3rd c. BC was mostly contained to the acropolis, which was heavily fortified. The city expanded after the Roman annexing and got a larger city wall and several public buildings. The city remained abandoned after a violent destruction towards the end of the 1st c. BC until it was partially resettled in the 5th/6th c. AD.

Dimal thus offers the possibility to investigate a regionally important political and economic center of Hellenistic-Roman times with all long-term developments. Further, Dimal could give insights into questions on cultural transformation processed of the indigenous populations of Illyria because of its close exchange with Apollonia. This may be regarded with the impact of the Greek colonists and later by the annexing into the Roman Empire. The research focused on a comprehensive documentation of the visible structural remains of Dimal, supplemented by geophysical prospections. Further, specific stratigraphic sondages are opened for the dating of buildings. Systematic analyses of the finds are supposed to give insight into the economic history of the city. In the campaigns new structures could be discovered: an upper agora with temple and adjacent public buildings, a so-far unknown theater, the western main gate of the city, a large necropolis as well as a late antique church with a baptistery.

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Michael Heinzelmann, Belisa Muka

Coordination: Manuela Broisch


  • Institute of Building History and Heritage Management and Institute of Building Processes and Building Informatics at the University of Applied Sciences Cologne
  • Archaeological Institute Tirana,
  • Department of Anthropology University of Winnipeg,
  • Servizio di Antropologia della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Lazio

Funding: RheinEnergie Foundation

Short Information


  • B. Muka, M. Heinzelmann, Rezultate gërmimesh të vitit 2011: Dimal, Iliria 36, 2012, 387-391
  • M. Heinzelmann, B. Muka, N. Schöndeling, Dimal in Illyrien - Ergebnisse eines deutsch-albanischen Gemeinschaftsprojekts, Kölner und Bonner Archaeologica 2, 2012, 115-128
  • M. Heinzelmann, B. Muka, Dimal in Illyrien – Vorbericht zur dritten Ausgrabungskampagne 2013, Kölner und Bonner Archaeologica 3, 2013, 167-176
  • N. Fenn – C. Römer-Strehl – L. Berger, Dimal in Illyrien – Eine Siedlung im Bergland Albaniens mit weitreichenden Handelskontakten im Mittelmeerraum. Vorbericht aus der Fundbearbeitung, Kölner und Bonner Archaeologica 3, 2013, 177–187
  • B. Muka, M. Heinzelmann, Dimal, in: I. Gjipali, L. Perzhita, B. Muka (Hrsg.), Recent Archaeological Discoveries in Albania, Botimet Albanologjike (Tirana 2013) 112-117
  • M. Heinzelmann, B. Muka, Vorbericht zur vierten Grabungskampagne 2014 in Dimal (Illyrien), Kölner und Bonner Archaeologica 4, 2014, 109-119
  • N. Fenn – C. Römer-Strehl, The Hellenistic and Roman pottery from 2013 Excavations at Dimal /Albania. An Illyrian Hilltop-Settlement with Mediterranean Connections in the Hinterland of Apollonia, in: Traditions and Innovations: Tracking the Development of Pottery from the Late Classical to the Early Imperial Periods, Proceeding of the 1st Conference of IARPothP Berlin 7th–10th November 2013 (im Druck)
  • B. Muka, M. Heinzelmann, Dimal: new results of the Albanian-German research project, in Proceedings of International Congress of Albanian Archaeological Studies, (21-22 november 2013, Tirana) (im Druck)
  • M. Rubini et al., Chi erano gli Illiri? Nuove scoperte in Albania, Archeologia Viva 178, 2016, 2-9
  • M. Heinzelmann, B. Muka, Vorbericht zur fünften Grabungskampagne 2015 in Dimal (Illyrien), Kölner und Bonner Archaeologica 5, 2015, 91-106
  • M. Rubini, P. Zaio, A Paleoanthropological and Paleopathological Approach to the Dimal Population (3rd-2nd Century BCE, Albania), Kölner und Bonner Archaeologica 15, 2015, 107-110

Qualification Papers

  • A. Schröder, Die Nekropolen von Dimal (Bachelor ongoing)
  • K. Zerzeropulos, Auswertung der Stadttorgrabung (Bachelor 2017)
  • A. Schiffmann, Auswertung der Kirchengrabung (Bachelor 2016)