Butrint: Unveiling The Truth About Albania – OpEd


In March 2024, two distinguished Albanian scholars, Sazan Guri, Stefan Pinguli, published a masterpiece about Illyria’s Butrint; one of the most significant archaeologic treasures throughout Southeastern Europe. This unique volume entitled “Butrint: Where The Real History Of Empire Is Darkened And Illuminated,” reveals major faithful conclusions that are principal facts for European historians in their process of shaping ancient Mediterranean history through archaeological discoveries.  

According to Prof. Sazan Guri: “Butrint is not just an archaeological site to visit, but it is Albania’s deeply rooted history in antiquity, it is our identity, and history and national identity cannot be given away in a concession agreement.”

Through their profound research Prof. Guri and Prof. Pinguli legitimately augments the importance of Illyrian tribes in the Mediterranean, the very same civilization that has been unfairly sandwiched and obscured by the overwhelming heritage of Mycenaean civilization and Gaius Octavius’ Roman Empire; over the centuries of antiquity both civilizations have exerted tremendous pressure against Illyrian heritage, ethnography and defense and trade culture. 

In major tenets Guri emphasizes: It is frivolously foolish to include the entire ancient walls of Butrint city under the terminology of ‘Hellenistic’, which tentatively represents the period of 335-30 B.C., while the walls of Butrint represent an archaic period of VII Century B.C..

In their book are included a few suggestions for the defense of Butrint:  

1. The American-Albanian Foundation should be called Albanian-American.

2. Butrint is not an ordinary city; on the contrary, it is a unique archaeological hub with many cultural – archaeological treasures to explore further.

3. The AA Foundation lacks the knowledge and the experience about the monuments of Butrint.

4. The Foundation has grossly ignored and has not established connections with the Albanian archaeologists.

5. Why are the Albanian archaeologists, that have deeply studied Butrint in their long-time work experience, are ignored by the Albanian Government?

6. The structure of the Foundation group does not present transparency, no curriculum, no scientific papers, no studies, no books, no academic titles.

7. The Ministry of Culture has not made any consultations with the Albanian Butrint specialists who are still alive and well.

8. Butrint can be included in one of the ten archaeological cities of Europe and beyond, based on archaeological points of view were many elements of the famous Troy here come back to life, with damaged but still surviving walls and monuments.   

Some of the matters tackled on this work are: 

1. The Albanian government publicly announces “a white death” of the Albanian archaeology, of antique monument experts and of distinguished academicians.

2. This public asset is given without a public hearing with citizens who want to know what is being done to their above and underground heritage.

3. This public asset is given without the involvement of the academic, archaeological, historical and linguistic experts, neither of the “high class” level such as N. Ceka, A. Baçe, M. Zeqo, E. Nallbani, the archaeologist Mr. Frashëri, etc., nor of the local level who all want to know what is happening with the archaeological excavations and where the discovered new objects are sent after this operation.

4. This public asset is given without transparency, where not only the local citizens, but the entire Albanian people as owners of their historic assets, have NO information at all about this unlawful process.

5. Questions Arise as to why with unrecognized foreigners, why without a public competion (tender), why with people who allegedly present unsolicited projects and then become the owners of the project and its outcome?!

6. Why this short and hidden relationship between the Minister of Culture, Prime Minister and Company X, while the Albanian archaeologists have no rights to participate, to see, discuss or report?

According to Prof. Sazan Guri, J. D., B. Eng. and Dr. Ing. Stefan Pinguli: “Albania and the Albanians have a number of issues with their neighbors, a part of which has a genuine scientific and cultural character. The issues with our neighbors at cultural and scientific levels, theses and hypotheses, inherited and contemporaneous, are waiting to be addressed at the highest level of capacity and quality, with clarity and seriousness, without any complexity, prejudice or phobia. Scientifically highlighted and studied Albanology, is the most powerful weapon of Albanians, on the cultural and scientific battle field with our neighbors. The wars in the Balkans are over, but cultural battles continue. They are the future obstacles. The Albanian history is our most genuine and remarkable profile, with which Albanians can contribute and simultaneously compete at the family of common values of European Union. The Albanian history is the safest Albanian trademark, the most qualitative and competitive in the global order of new millennium. That’s where the history has a rich and diverse agenda, like the Albanology itself…” 

According to Prof. Majlinda Cenku, a Researcher from Canada: “Professors Sazan Guri and Stefan Pinguli bring us a historical, factual, logical detailing of the fate of our Butrint which, like all Albanian lands, is at the intersection of the open and hidden struggles from those who have made and are making plans to eclipse its many millenniums of authenticity.  As a result, this work is a logical, historical, academic, archaeological, factual, linguistic, scientific, mythological, geographical, antique, space-time, reminiscing, legal, cultural and equally patriotic and spiritual “duel”, between two representatives of the nation, be it in blood, in soul, in dignity, in knowledge, in education, in genome and in mother tongue, with an expert brought to our shores to tell us what our names are without waiting for US to say the name that our mother and father, grandmother and grandfather gave us when we came to this world.”

Cenku elaborates further on the current movements towards the study of Butrint:

“With almost half a century of expertise in the archaeological sites of European countries, where the presence in Butrint constitutes 30 years of his professional activity, Mr. Hodges is the author of a book about our Butrint which he bases on a 13 year presence in this Albanian cultural treasure. As with the “proper” expertise to research this special land, in existence since God created this ancient nation, logically  we expected that findings would converge with those of our most well-known archaeologists, and also with those of foreign archaeologists (artifact-takers from Albania such as Ugolini), that have previously researched this historical site of a very particular interest and importance.  Unfortunately, the opposite has happened, and this is the object of this book by two Albanian professors who make the requested revolution with this diplomatic archaeologist that, at the end of his career as a way to justify all the falsity of the findings, diggings, and publications of his work, has left to throw the last “excavation” on the truths of what should be called the Pandora’s Box for all European archeology, our Butrint.

This author with his impressive resume must have been a great hope for the Albanian government that brought him and entrusted his presence in one of our most precious archaeological treasures, believing that eventually the light of Butrint would shine on or alongside Ancient Rome and Athens, just as it shone in its centuries but was covered by their jealousy, just as the Roman and Hellenic styles of bricks and rocks, later covered those gigantic Pelasgian stones that today silently lie inside the centuries-old soil of Butrint, but which say that: we have been here since the moon was not born and no matter how much we don’t want to know about the weight of these Roman and Hellenic walls on our shoulders, again we want our grand grandchildren to discover that we are their base, the foundation and the origin where these descendants copied and created their existence from the wealth and knowledge that we left for you.”

Peter Tase

Peter Tase is a freelance writer and journalist of International Relations, Latin American and Southern Caucasus current affairs. He is the author of America's first book published on the historical and archeological treasures of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan (Republic of Azerbaijan); has authored and published four books on the Foreign Policy and current economic – political events of the Government of Azerbaijan. Tase has written about International Relations for Eurasia Review Journal since June 2012.

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