The Illyrian Tombs of Selca e Poshtme are located near the town of Pogradec in Albania. On the right bank of the river Shkumbin lie the remains of the ancient city of Pelion and the accompanying necropolis. The Roman Via Egnatia led past it towards Thessaloniki. Though there are traces of human activity in Neolithic times, the settlement proper dates to the Iron Age through to the Illyrian urban period (5th to 2nd centuries BC), and reached its height under settlement by the Illyrian tribe of Enchele in the later Iron Age and was also occupied in the Roman period as traces of a municipal building show. From the 4th to 1st centuries BC the city was the royal residence of Illyrian kings and therefore, also probably an important political and economic centre.
According to excavations, the settlement has five phases of occupation. Selcë I to III are divided into late Neolithic, early Bronze Ageand Late Bronze Age, all represented by different ceramic forms. The settlement was continuously inhabited from the Bronze Age into the Iron Age. During the 6th to 5th centuries BC the settlement developed as a proto-urban center on the road that ran along the river Shkumbin connecting the coast of Albania to Macedonia. From the Iron Age there is a permanent settlement at the site.
Around 570 BC/550 BC the phase of Selcë IV began, evidenced by traces of burnt dwellings, pottery, including imports from Corinth in the lower horizon, and some Ionian wares. In the upper horizon, local, red-brown painted pottery, wheel made pottery with two handles and Ionic and Attic products were found. The local potters copied Greek models and were also influenced by their style. During the 4th century the acropolis was fortified by an encircling wall of well-cut stone.
In the 4th and 3rd centuries BC Selca was an important trading centre and was the administrative centre of the Illyrian region of the Dassaretae. Terraces were created in order to develop the settlement across the hilly terrain. In the 3rd century monumental tombs were cut into the rock around the acropolis, some with Ionic columns. One of these tombs was reused at the end of the 2nd century and a wide array of finds were discovered therein, including weapons, bronze vessels, ceramics and gold jewellery. The construction of the Via Egnatia, which bypassed the city, led to its decline.
During the 4th century AD Selca, as a military and administrative centre, was re-fortified with stone walls bound with mortar. Houses were constructed from reused Roman and Illyrian masonry. On the basis of coin finds two elements phases of construction can be determined. The first from the time of Valentinian I (364-375), the second from the time of Justinian I (518 - 565) to the years 547/548. The city was of economic and political importance before being conquered by the Slavs who destroyed the last remains of the Illyrian city.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.