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The UNESCO Libyan Valleys Survey VII: An Interim Classification and Functional Analysis of Ancient Wall Technology and Land Use

  • D. D. Gilbertson (a1), P. P. Hayes (a1), G. W. W. Barker (a2) and C. O. Hunt (a1)


Interpretations of ancient wall-technologies in the Libyan pre-desert are briefly reviewed. The forms, patterns, distributions and geological/geomorphic/hydrologic relationships of walls in a series of study areas are described and interpreted with the aid of a new, non-genetic, ‘wall-technology’ classification. The remarkable hydrological and geomorphic insights of their constructors are clear. Several wall types are shown to have been primarily concerned with functions other than water control, although this aspect is usually dominant. In some cases the location of the walls appears to have been likely to exacerbate the perennial problems of soil erosion and gullying, in others walls appear to have been constructed specifically to control soil erosion. These data have implications for reconstructing past land use and evaluating the degree of success or failure experienced in particular situations.



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