Sahara rock art Giraffe-Wadi-In-Galguien

The power of Saharan rock art

Creating images in a changing world Today, it seems hard to imagine that the Sahara was once populated by people with large herds of domestic cattle. While the grasslands and lakes that were so important to these communities may be long gone, the images they etched onto stone still survive. This rock art tells the […]

Ramming home truths

Discovered by British divers off the coast of Tobruk, Libya, in 1964, the Belgammel Ram would have been fixed to the upper bow of a small Greek or Roman warship to break enemy oars. Now extensive tests, led by Dr Nic Flemming of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, have revealed a wealth of new […]

Belgammel ram left side. Credit Crown Copyright. AWE.

Belgammel Ram reveals all

Detailed analysis of a 2,000-year-old bronze warship ram has shed new light on how the object was created and used. Discovered by British divers off the coast of Tobruk, Libya, in 1964, the Belgammel Ram weighs 20kg (44lb) and would have been part of a small Greek or Roman warship called a tesseraria. The 65cm (2’2″) […]


Early Milking in the Sahara

A research team led by the University of Bristol has found proof that dairy farming was practised in Saharan Africa 7,000 years ago. Chemical and isotopic analysis of fatty acids taken from unglazed Libyan pottery dated to the 5th millennium BC, revealed that dairy fats were processed inside the vessels. Evidence for domesticated cattle in this region […]


Re-building Libya’s Past

Libya’s heritage is in danger of being overlooked, warned Dr Hafed Walda, Libyan archaeologist at King’s College London and international advisor on Libyan heritage. At a session organised by the Society for Libyan Studies, Walda called for international support to help secure the country’s national heritage. He went on to say that, understandably, international aid […]


Culture Clash: A tale of two Libyas

The present uprising in Libya has focused the world’s attention on the region. But this part of North Africa has a troubled past. Archaeologist Philip Kenrick discusses a country of two halves.


Libya: Libyan Uprisings

The Sirte Basin in northern Libya, the current battleground for Colonel Gaddafi’s troops and rebel civilian forces, is no stranger to conflict. Nadia Durrani gets the full story from Charles LeQuesne.


Libya Archaeological Guides: Tripolitania

The modern country of Libya – the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya – encompasses one of the richest parts of the Roman Empire, but for the past 30 years it has been off the tourist track due to political difficulties. Now it is opening up once again, but it lacks a good guide book, the […]


When did humans reach North Africa?

Estimates for the date at which early migration out of sub-Saharan Africa occurred vary from 200,000 to 80,000 years ago, the older dates being based on estimates of the rate at which genes mutate. Hard archaeological evidence is elusive, but the excavation of what is being called ‘the deepest archaeological trench in North Africa’ has […]



The oasis town of Ghadames is an architectural gem in western Libya. It once lay on the trans-Saharan trade-route described in the previous feature. Words and pictures Fiona Dunlop.

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