The ‘Burials and Identity’ team of the Desert Migrations Project carried out two main excavations in the 2009 season, at the monumental Garamantian cemeteries of TAG001 and TAG012, by the Taqallit headland. In addition, a detailed survey was made of cemeteries and other sites on the west side of the Taqallit headland, to set the two main cemetery excavations in context. A total of over 2,100 individual burials was recorded in this small area of a few square kilometres. This cemetery survey was combined with further research on the well-preserved foggara systems in this area, which originate at the escarpment among the cemeteries and run in a north-westerly direction towards the valley centre, where some additional Garamantian settlement sites were also located. The foggara research also involved excavation at four locations to try to elucidate issues relating to the dating of these.
A total of 22 burials was investigated at TAG001, an imposing cemetery of stone-built stepped tombs that had been badly damaged by illegal bulldozing in the 1990s. Although these had been subjected to robbing at some point in the past, many preserved considerable parts of the skeletons buried within and some surprisingly complete artifact groups. Of particular importance are a series of Garamantian necklaces in ostrich eggshell, carnelian and glass beads, which we were able to lift in perfect sequence and restring. At TAG012, about 2 km north of the Taqallit headland, we excavated an area of a mudbrick cemetery, exposing 12 square/rectangular tombs. Two further burials were excavated at the dispersed cemetery TAG006, in both cases involving tombs that had an interesting stratigraphical relationship with foggara spoil mounds.