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Town and City in Tripolitania: Studies in Origins and Development 1969–1989

  • G. D. B. Jones (a1)

Extract

The manifest achievement of the colonial epoch in the Maghreb was the clearance and, in places, restoration of the great archaeological heritage that awaited investigation in North Africa. To the near exclusion of other themes such as agriculture and the economy, the images of magnificent classical ruins have sprung from the pages of many books, and for better or worse, shaped the mentality of the previous generation and also of that which followed after the Second World War.

Nowhere was this more true than the great coastal cities of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, unearthed and re-erected on a tide of pre-war cultural imperatives. To some extent the wealth of outstandingly well preserved urban remains (associated with an abundance of epigraphic evidence) at the time militated against the refinement of research objectives. It fell to archaeologists working in the colonial twilight of the post-war period, first, to assay the publication backlog and, second, to deepen the level of investigation along lines that were becoming familiar elsewhere through the increasingly sophisticated stratigraphic analysis of urban sites.

In the post-war years the first strand saw, for example, the final publication of the Severan harbour and the market at Lepcis Magna (Degrassi 1951, Bartoccini 1958; for the city as a whole see Bianchi Bandinelli et al. 1966 and Squarciapino 1966); and this continues today with the publication of the work of Kenyon and Ward-Perkins (Kenrick 1986) and various Italian teams (Joly and Tomasello 1984) at Sabratha and at Lepcis (Caputo 1987; Ward-Perkins 1989). The Kenyon and Ward-Perkins excavation at Sabratha, with its sophisticated stratigraphic methods, marked a significant movement into the second area of increasingly searching analysis of archaeological sequences on multi-period sites. For a variety of reasons — logistical, financial and methodological — archaeological investigation effectively remained at that level until 1969, the starting point for this survey of the emporia and the less well-known towns of Tripolitania.

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References

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Town and City in Tripolitania: Studies in Origins and Development 1969–1989

  • G. D. B. Jones (a1)

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