Apollonia: Impacts from Shoreline Change and Urban Expansion.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Apollonia was founded as the port town of inland Cyrene in the 7th century BC probably because its sheltering reefs offer one of the few safe anchorages on the rugged Eastern Libyan coast. Archaeological remains include numerous Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine structures onshore and extensive harbour elements on the outlying islands and also submerged on the seabed (a consequence of tectonic activity). Despite being one of North Africa’s best-preserved ancient harbours, it is threatened by coastal erosion and urbanization. Coastal erosion is eating away at the site, exposing unrecorded material and putting buildings at risk from collapse. Although this is a long-term process, it seems to be accelerating and will speed up as the surrounding protective reefs break down and are overtopped by a combination of climate change-induced sea-level rise and enhanced storm activity. Over the last 20 years, the modern town of Susah has expanded considerably and, in some places, encroaches directly on the protective fence surrounding ancient Apollonia’s core. Outside the fence, archaeological features like cemeteries and extramural buildings are at risk from unregulated construction. Some, like part of the western necropolis, have already been lost. This online exhibition showcases these threats and demonstrates the approaches we can use to document and quantify their impacts.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 4 Nov 2021


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