Castles in the desert - satellites reveal lost cities of Libya

Posted By News On November 8, 2011 - 12:37am
Castles in the desert - satellites reveal lost cities of Libya

Satellite imagery has uncovered new evidence of a lost civilization of the Sahara in Libya's south-western desert wastes that will help re-write the history of the country.

Using satellites and air-photographs to identify the remains in one of the most inhospitable parts of the desert, a British team has discovered more than 100 fortified farms and villages with castle-like structures and several towns, most dating between AD 1-500.

These "lost cities" were built by a little-known ancient civilisation called the Garamantes, whose lifestyle and culture was far more advanced and historically significant than the ancient sources suggested.

The team from the University of Leicester has identified the mud brick remains of the castle-like complexes, with walls still standing up to four metres high, along with traces of dwellings, cairn cemeteries, associated field systems, wells and sophisticated irrigation systems. Follow-up ground survey earlier this year confirmed the pre-Islamic date and remarkable preservation.

This is a photo of the mudbrick village with castle like structure visible in the center of the image.

(Photo Credit: Photo by Toby Savage.)

"It is like someone coming to England and suddenly discovering all the medieval castles. These settlements had been unremarked and unrecorded under the Gaddafi regime," says the project leader David Mattingly FBA, Professor of Roman Archaeology at the University of Leicester.

"Satellite imagery has given us the ability to cover a large region. The evidence suggests that the climate has not changed over the years and we can see that this inhospitable landscape with zero rainfall was once very densely built up and cultivated. These are quite exceptional ancient landscapes, both in terms of the range of features and the quality of preservation," says Dr Martin Sterry, also of the University of Leicester, who has been responsible for much of the image analysis and site interpretation.

The findings challenge a view dating back to Roman accounts that the Garamantes consisted of barbaric nomads and troublemakers on the edge of the Roman Empire.

"In fact, they were highly civilised, living in large-scale fortified settlements, predominantly as oasis farmers. It was an organised state with towns and villages, a written language and state of the art technologies. The Garamantes were pioneers in establishing oases and opening up Trans-Saharan trade," Professor Mattingly said.

This is a satellite image of area of desert with archaeological interpretation of features: fortifications are outlined in black, areas of dwellings are in red and oasis gardens are in green.

(Photo Credit: Copyright 2011 Google, image copyright 2011 DigitalGlobe.)

The professor and his team were forced to evacuate Libya in February when the anti-Gaddafi revolt started, but hope to be able to return to the field as soon as security is fully restored. The Libyan antiquities department, badly under-resourced under Gaddafi, is closely involved in the project. Funding for the research has come from the European Research Council who awarded Professor Mattingly an ERC Advanced Grant of nearly 2.5m euros, the Leverhulme Trust, the Society for Libyan Studies and the GeoEye Foundation.

"It is a new start for Libya's antiquities service and a chance for the Libyan people to engage with their own long-suppressed history," says Professor Mattingly.

"These represent the first towns in Libya that weren't the colonial imposition of Mediterranean people such as the Greeks and Romans. The Garamantes should be central to what Libyan school children learn about their history and heritage."

This is a photo of mudbrick and stone castle-like structure.

(Photo Credit: Photo by Toby Savage)

We watch now as "Global Warming" changes the pattern of mankind's civilisations on earth even today. Did weather, climate and changing weather patterns perhaps contribute to this settlement's rise and fall?

Sure, if you want. An article on the Titanic sinking even blamed that on global warming. Basically, it's a surefire way to get media coverage, but it isn't science.

climate change and its effects on the rise and fall of civilizations are basic archaeology. that being said, blaming a single event like the titanic on climate change is just not right.

You two are both stupid. If anyone had actually read the article that he linked to it simple said that the exceptionally warm weather that summer changed the currents... Here is the quote directly from the article"

"it also appears that the climate thousands of miles away from where the ship actually sunk may have had a hand in events. At times when the weather is warmer than usual in the Caribbean, the Gulf Stream intersects with the glacier-carrying Labrador Current in the North Atlantic in such a way that icebergs are aligned to form a barrier of ice.

In 1912 the Caribbean experienced an unusually hot summer and so the Gulf Stream was particularly intense; the Titanic hit the iceberg right at the intersection of the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current."

Nothing in there about Global Warming at all.

Ironic how the article you linked to says absolutely nothing whatsoever implicating GW as being even remotely complicit in the Titanic sinking, but did make very clear references to the possibility that either the shipbuilders or steel mills supplying rivets may have engaged in some additional profiteering by supplying the workers with a sub-standard product.

Why this is particularly ironic is the fact that a large majority of those who either believe sincerely that AGW is a hoax, or are the ones engaging in the deliberate misinformation campaigns to deceive them, almost always have strong beliefs in the ability of capitalism and/or deregulated markets to "do the right thing" without outside regulators forcing them to behave ethically.

And here we have one of them seeing GW references that in fact do not exist, while simultaneously failing to pick out a reference that truly does exist, but speaks directly to the folly of allowing profiteers to monitor their own industry or products. It provides a clear example of why those advancing these notions are almost always (at least in my own lengthy experience observing examples of an "RWA-SDO (follower-leader) authoritarian embrace") deliberate liars or people susceptible to motivated cognition or non-deliberate biased reasoning that guards against their integration of info that may threaten or conflict with beliefs that are important to their own self-image (as a "true" patriot, a "moral and good" Christian, "salt of the earth" American, etc)

"In 1912 the Caribbean experienced an unusually hot summer and so the Gulf Stream was particularly intense;"

LOL, another GW nut job. Maybe we can see what can be done to get the palm trees back in Antartica, lol .Stop posting, you're embarrassing your step children.

Weather, climate and changing weather patterns contribute to every settlement's rise and fall.
Climate can change without major human influence, or climate can change with major influence. Resisting nature, cutting into mountains, moving earth, cutting down mass amounts of trees, dumping mass amounts of garbage into ocean. These are examples of humans changing the environment in ways that may change the way the wind flows, the way ocean currents flow.

Climate has always played a hand in the rise and falls in civilizations. That is part of the reason why it's important to pay attention to what is happening now with the climate.

Not to worry - the new Islamist government of Libya will destory these pre-Islamic insults to Islam.

Go back to WorldNetDaily. There's a preference for facts here that you may misinterpret as the "liberal bias" that allows a certain sector of the population to dismiss anything they hear or read that conflicts with the "echo-chamber reality" political party who serve the interests of an elite ruling class and so must find votes among the working class who are so gullible they can be convinced to vote against themselves (and for the elite). Those are people they need to keep isolated from the rest of the population until after the election. WND is one of those "chambers".

Colonel Khaddafi brought Occidental Petroleum and USs Big Oil to the oil-revenue negotiating table...bringing properity, free education and health care to the average Libyan. He did NOT destroy the Roman ruins of Leptis Magna or Sabratha nor the Greek ruins in Eastern Libya. He DID dismantle--not destroy-- the Italian Iconic Marble Arch separating the two provinces of colonial Libya. That new Islamist government in Libya is a product of Obama's West Wing gang of Bolsheviks.

We came;we saw;he died.~Secretary State of the US, Hillary Clinton on NATO's lynching of Khaddafi.

What is everyone's problemo?? The Earth has always gone through climate change. Just like the water cycle, the air cycle, the life cycle, earth, like everything else, has a cycle. This too shall pass either into the latest ice age or other climate change. We may have contributed to the climate change, but regardless, it will happen.

It isn't global change... it is universal change. All planets warm and cool. We have nothing to do with the changes in temperature on Mars, the moon, etc. Move on... nothing to see here.