Coastal and maritime archaeology in Cyrenaica, Libya: history, developments, site identification and challenges

Ahmad Emrage, Julia Nikolaus

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The coastline of Cyrenaica, Libya, is rich in cultural heritage dating from prehistory to the modern periods. Despite the region's long-standing and strong connection to the sea, maritime archaeology remains a peripheral, but growing, branch of archaeology in Libya. This paper aims to provide an overview of the maritime projects that have been carried out in Cyrenaica in the past. Furthermore, it will highlight the main threats and damages that coastal heritage faces today and will provide some suggestions on how the discipline could develop in the future. The Cyrenaica Coastal Survey (CCS), a collaboration between the Maritime Endangered Archaeology (MarEA) project and the Department of Antiquities (DoA), Libya, will serve as a case study of an ongoing project that documents and assesses the condition of sites along the Cyrenaican coast between Tocra and Apollonia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalLibyan Studies
Early online date29 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 29 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to the British Institute for Libyan and Northern African Studies and to the Faculty of Humanities and Arts Strategic Research Fund, University of Southampton, who supported the second and third phase of the CCS project. The MarEA Project is a joint project between the University of Southampton and Ulster University and is funded by ARCADIA, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. We would like to thank the Department of Antiquities (DoA) in Libya for granting permission for the CCS survey work. The CCS project would not have been possible without the ongoing and enthusiastic support of the members of the DoA in Cyrenaica and, finally, we would like to thank the entire survey team of Libyan heritage professionals for their hard work and support for the CCS project. Stage one of the survey was led by Mohammed Abdrbba, and stages two and three by Ahmad Emrage and Fouad El Gumaati. We would like to thank Ahmad Buzaian for providing the translation of the survey sheets and his ongoing advice and support.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the British Institute for Libyan & Northern African Studies.


  • Maritime archaeology
  • Libya
  • North Africa
  • Heritage Management
  • Heritage Protection
  • maritime heritage management
  • maritime heritage protection
  • coastal survey
  • Cyrenaica
  • maritime archaeology


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