This article reports on the sixth season of the ongoing project at Euesperides (Benghazi). Excavation in Area P established the date of construction of the penultimate phase (and therefore of the plain pebble mosaic with inscription published last year) as 300-282 BC, following the abandonment and demolition of the antepenultimate phase beneath it. An area used for the preparation and cutting of the materials employed in the final-phase mosaics has been identified. In Area Q the dismantling of the street sequence was completed, and the W building fronting the street found to date from the fifth century BC. In Area R the crushed deposits of Murex shell were removed and working surfaces associated with purple dye production defined. Geological investigations to the west of the city revealed a possible location for the ancient harbour, and showed that the waterlogged deposits of the former sebkha are a good source for further palaeoenvironmental research.
Study of the finds also continued. Further work on reconstructing the design of the final phase mosaic in Area P suggests a central motif probably of two dolphins set within a wave-crest surround. The initial results of the analysis of the mosaic samples taken from the final-phase Building A are presented. The study of the wall plaster fragments was begun, enabling some preliminary observations on the decoration. New forms of local black glaze pots have been recovered this year along with fineware imports from Attica, Corinth, East Greece, south Italy and the Punic world throwing light on the interrelations between Euesperides and the Mediterranean world from the fifth to third centuries BC. Full quantification of the coarse pottery assemblages continued this season, doubling the dataset of fully recorded pottery, whilst detailed analysis of vessel forms and their variations identified production techniques and chronological developments of vessel shapes within the local and imported wares. The study of the amphorae identified more Punic amphorae and an unusual basket-handled amphora which may be of Cypriot origin. Initial assessments of environmental and faunal remains were conducted.