Western Marmarica Coastal Survey

Western Marmarica Coastal Survey

The Western Marmarica Coastal Survey works east of Tobruk in Libya. This has been viewed as a marginal area, an area to be passed through on the way to the major centres of Cyrenaica and the Egyptian delta. However, semi-arid areas such as these are sensitive indicators of the economic and political health of the state, from the Ptolemaic through the Late Antique periods: where governance is strong, then military and economic infrastructures will be present; where it is weak, they will decline. In fact, the survey shows a range of agricultural communities, mostly farmsteads, scattered across the landscape, and the goal of the survey is to understand the degree to which this area was embedded in the wider imperial economy.

The WMCS is engaged in a survey of the area aimed at recording the settlement history of the area, with particular attention to relations between nomadic and settled groups and land and sea routes, investigating land and maritime remains. In the Late Roman period, agricultural produce was transported in locally-made amphora, some of Egyptian type, and in return a wide range of eastern Mediterranean fine wares, glass, and even fragments of Egyptian granite, porphyry and cippolino marble were acquired. 

Click on an image below to see a larger version.

Agricultural images, wadi el-'Ayn

Bifacial tanged arrowhead, Site 59, Wadi el-'Ayn

Cup and groove marks, wadi el-'Ayn

Libyan Desert ware

Marked ARS ware bowl

Site 24, wadi Douma

In addition, the survey is recovering evidence of early activity in the region, from the Middle Stone Age and particular the Libyco-Capsian and Neolithic periods. Nomadic activity is visible in a range of burials, the presence of Libyan Desert ware and knapped glass and rock art.


In preparation:

Hulin, L. ‘A rock art in eastern coastal Libya’.
Hulin, L. ‘Relations between settled and nomadic communities in eastern Libya in the Late Roman period: agricultural practice and labour’.

2010. Hulin, L., Timby, J., Muftah, A.M. and Mutri, G. ‘Western Marmarica Coastal Survey
2010: preliminary report’, Libyan Studies 41: 155–62. 2009. Hulin, L. ‘Western Marmarica Coastal Survey
2009: preliminary report’, Libyan Studies 40: 95–103. 2008. Hulin, L. ‘Western Marmarica Coastal Survey
2008: a preliminary report’, Libyan Studies 39: 299–314.
2008. Hulin, L. ‘Western Marmarica Coastal Survey 2008’, PAST 60 (November).