In winter 1987–8 Mr Ramadan Kwaider of the Department of Antiquities at Cyrene found a marble block, inscribed on three faces, in die lower levels of the Extramural Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore in the Wadi Belgadir; it had been uncovered by a combination of burrowing foxes and winter rains, and is now, by his prompt action, safe in Cyrene Museum (inv. no. 3480). Our preliminary report on it is awaiting publication in Libya Antiqua; we offer here the three texts, with discussion of some of their points of interest.
The history of the block, which was three times re-used, is a vivid reminder of the value of marble at Cyrene, all of it imported and therefore very rarely to be discarded when out of date or damaged, if it could be made to serve another turn. Its findspot solves an uncertainty about the attribution of some other inscriptions to the Wadi Belgadir Sanctuary. More significantly still, it provides a new and suggestive document relating to Roman taxation in Cyrenaica.
Only the third and final inscription on the block (Fig. 1) can be said with certainty to belong to the sanctuary. This was cut on a face which measures w. 0.97 m × ht. 0.35 m × d. 0.23 m and was dressed with a claw chisel, but not polished. The letters (ht. average 0.04 m) were lightly cut, rather narrow for their height, in a style dateable approximately to the Hadrianic and early Antonine periods; but although the layout, with quite careful centering, is respectable, the cutting is light so that the letters would only be easily legible if over-painted. The top surface, when the block is in this position, has been hollowed out, presumably for the insertion of the base carrying the statue implied by the text.