While we're most excited about the results of our own dig, many of you want more of an impression of the whole of the Lepcis Magna site.
Lepcis Magna is a World Heritage site on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa in the Tripolitania region of Libya. Originally founded by the Phoenicians in the 10th Century BC, it survived the attention of Spartan colonists, became a Punic city and eventually part of the new Roman province of Africa around 23 BC.
As a Roman city it prospered, boasting Emperor L Septimius Severus as one of its sons and benefactors.
Sacked by a Berber tribe in 523 AD it was abandoned and quickly reclaimed by the desert. Although it provided a source of building materials to various pillagers throughout history, it was not excavated until the 1920s.
Since then the incredible remains of this city (one of the best preserved Roman cities) have attracted less attention than they deserve - especially since the political situation in Libya has made travel to the site difficult and tourism a virtual impossibility.
In 1994 a new excavation of part of the site was started by a team of professional archaeologists from a variety of academic and research institutes around the UK. Led by Dr. Hafed Walda of Kings College London, and sponsored by the Society for Libyan Studies (established as a British Institute Abroad in 1969 and based at the Institute of Archaeology in London), this team has been conducting excavations of a building by the theatre for two seasons.
1997 will be largely a study season when the artefacts and other evidence can be examined to piece together answers to some of the intriguing questions this dig has raised - What happened to the 2nd/3rd centuries? Why did such a small house need extensive underground water cisterns? Where did we leave our trowel? To view a multimedia presentation on the excavation work being undertaken, and possible answers to these questions, come to our lecture theatre by clicking here.
Photos ©1995 Stuart Laidlaw, Michael Halliwell, Institute of Archaeology, UCL