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TAP Discovers Column Capital Part of 6th Century AD Religious Monument

28 July 2016


Tirana, Albania. During the rehabilitation of an access road in the Skrapari area, Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) AG discovered a well-preserved archaeological artefact. The find is a 40cm limestone column capital, decorated with engraved floral motifs, and is believed to have been part of a significant religious monument in the region. TAP’s Cultural Heritage experts’ preliminary assessments conclude that the artefact dates back to the 6th century AD and belongs to an early Christian monument. 


The machine operator on site identified the object early on in the excavation process and works were immediately stopped. The project’s cultural heritage experts were called to investigate the archaeological discovery and the wider area. At the same time, the responsible government authorities were informed of the finding.

Initial investigation on site showed that the object was an isolated find, not part of a larger archaeological context. Nonetheless, the discovery offers new evidence on the region’s important role in the diffusion of Christian religion as well as Christian monuments in late antiquity.

TAP is very sensitive when it comes to protecting and preserving the cultural heritage of the areas along the pipeline route. Cultural heritage experts and archaeologists will be active throughout the entire pipeline construction period, monitoring works on the ground. Employees and contractors are informed and trained on steps to take in case of an archaeological chance find. This occurrence reinforces the efficiency and commitment of the entire organisation to protecting our host countries’ cultural heritage.

The column capital was consigned to the Albanian authorities for further examination as well as establishing a new home for the artefact to be displayed.