ERC project's team gets back to Libya after Gaddafi's fall

European Research Council statement

Satellite imagery has uncovered new evidence of a lost civilisation of the Sahara in Libya’s south-western desert wastes that will help re-write the history of the country.

The fall of Gaddafi has opened the way for archaeologists to explore the country’s pre-Islamic heritage, so long ignored under his regime. Using satellites and air-photographs to identify the remains in one of the most inhospitable parts of the desert, a British team with EU funding from the European Research Council (ERC) has discovered more than 100 fortified farms and villages with castle-like structures and several towns, most dating from AD 1-500.

Prof. Henrietta L. Moore, Member of the ERC's Scientific Council and the William Wyse Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge said: "In the ERC, we are very proud to fund excellent researchers such as archeologist David Mattingly and his team. When the ERC awarded him an Advanced Grant, we firmly believed that his project had the potential to go beyond the frontiers of knowledge and would be essential in getting to know Libya's cultural heritage. Then it took a dramatic turn with the anti-Gaddafi revolt which forced the team to evacuate the country". She added: "Remarkably, David Mattingly plans to get back to Libya soon to continue his ground survey with the same enthusiasm. We are confident that he will continue his important exploration of the exceptional archaeological treasures of this region". 

If you wish to interview the research team, please get back to us.

For more information about this ERC-funded project, click on our homepage or on this webpage.

This statement relates to the University of Leicester press release here.

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