June 1, 2012 (Down and Dirty)

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Ura e Mesit (Mes Bridge) an Ottoman Bridge that dates back to the 18th Century. Over 100m in length, it is one of the longest Ottoman bridges in the region.
Its now used as a pedestrian path (yes, we crossed it :))

Some children playing in the river that runs beneath the Mes Bridge

Today we got “down and dirty” with the archaeological students from Mississippi. We spent a few hours helping them excavate their site and then headed over to Drisht “Castle” after lunch.

Bessie!
(I swear, we were NOT near any livestock on our trip abroad…)

The precarious path leading to the archaeological dig site. I wonder how they get the trucks out there…

The archaeological dig crew from a small liberal arts university in Mississippi. They’re hoping to uncover a burial site. The owner of the land bulldozed over the grave marker in an effort to cultivate more of his land. He “changed his mind” and called in an archaeological crew to excavate the site. So far they’ve yet to find any human remains but they have found lots of pottery (because we certainly need more of that in museums ;))

Some fields on our way to Drisht Castle

Awesome mountain scenery on our way to Drisht Castle

Turns out Drisht is more of a run down village than a castle. The area dates back to before the 10th Century B.C.! Today it is little more than 18 or so structures, loosely termed houses, surrounded by piles of rocks with no real remains of the castle aside from parts of the wall and a few towers.

One of the houses in Drisht

Another Drisht house. People still live in these homes, as hard as that is to believe, often with their livestock on the first floor and their families on the second. On of the students from Mississippi researched Drisht and found nearly every home to be inhospitable and very dangerous places to live in. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your perspective, these people have been living here for hundreds of years and are very accustomed to the state of their homes and do not seem to be negatively affected by it. I say, if they’re happy more power to them! 😀

The house where famous Anthropologist Edith Durham lived while she visited Drisht.

A very nice old man called to Marigona inquiring as to the nature of our visit. They chatted a bit and then he invited her eagerly up to his house to see an old stone he’d saved from the construction of the new museum. We obligingly trouped up to see it. It turned out to be a stone with the numbers 1437 carved into it. We think its probably a date since the town dates back to well before then. We also had the fortune of encountering an adorable puppy in their yard so thanks old man for inviting us to your house 🙂

This is that old man’s home.

We walked the short distance from one end of the village to the other. This is the view of the valley from the “other” side.

That night some of our group went to party with the archaeologists at their hotel. I stayed behind and got some much needed sleep as I’m pretty sure I’m coming down with something 😦 At least its the end of the trip and not the beginning.

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