Trans-SAHARA: State Formation, Migration and Trade in the Central Sahara (1000 BC - AD 1500)
The Garamantes of Fazzan, Libya were an indigenous Saharan society with towns, oasis agriculture and trading contacts with both the Mediterranean and Sub-Saharan Africa. Generously funded by the ERC, this five-year project builds on previous archaeological research (The Fazzan Project, Desert Migrations Project and Peopling the Desert Project) to understand the place of the Garamantes in the pre-Islamic Sahara.
Trans-SAHARA is built around a series of research themes designed to explore the degree of interconnectedness or comparative isolation of the Central Sahara from neighbouring regions to north, east, south and south-west:
- Workgroup 1: Urbanisation and state formation
- Workgroup 2: Trade
- Workgroup 3: Mobile technologies
- Workgroup 4: Human mobility and identity
Our four research themes formed the basis for two double-themed conferences focusing in April 2014 on (1) the extent and commodities of trade and (2) evidence of human migration and identity formation as revealed by funerary archaeology; and then in April 2015 on (3) the nature of state formation and urbanisation and (4) technological change and identifiable markers of technology transfer. Reports on the conferences can be found here.
- The Project Investigator: Professor David Mattingly.
- Postdoctoral Research Fellows: Dr Martin Sterry (Leicester), Dr Chloe Duckworth (Leicester), Dr Victoria Leitch (Leicester), Dr Aurelie Cuenod (Leicester) and Dr Ronika Power (Cambridge)
- Honourary Visiting Fellows: Dr Fran Cole (UCL Qatar), Dr Nick Ray (Oxford)
- Antiquity Prize 2013 and Open Access: Mattingly, D.J. and Sterry M. 2013. The first towns in the central Sahara. Antiquity 87 (336): 503-18.
- Mattingly, D.J. et al. 2013. The Archaeology of Fazzān. Volume 4, Survey and Excavations at Old Jarma (Ancient Garama) carried out by C.M. Daniels (1962-69) and the Fazzān Project (1997-2001). Society for Libyan Studies Monograph 9. London.
- Mattingly, D.J., Sterry, M. and Leitch, V. 2013. Fortified farms and defended villages of Late Roman and Late Antique Africa. Antiquité Tardive 21: 99-119.
See our full list of publications