French and Albanian archeologists are buzzing with excitement after uncovering the bust of an unknown athlete that dates back to the 2nd Century AD.
"It is an exceptional discovery, the most important in the last 50 years in Albania because the bust is still intact," French professor Jean-Luc Lamboley, who led the dig at Apollonia with Albanian archaeologists, told AFP.
"This spans a thousand years of history and we can study here how the classic Greek civilisation was transmitted, evolved and enriched in Roman times," Lamboley said.
Apollonia was founded in the 6th Century BC and later became renowned for its building architecture. The city was mentioned by Strabo in his Geographica as well as by Aristotle. It later flourished during Roman times. Nearly 1800 years later, the site housing the antiquities was reopened by archeologists. The excavations suffered from physical damage and plunder during the second world war as well as during the upheaval following the collapse of the communist regime in 1990.