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Ancient agriculture in Libya: a review of the evidence

by M. Van Der Veen
Acta Palaeobotanica ()
  • ISSN: 00016594


A synthesis is provided of the recent archaeobotanical evidence for the beginnings and development of agriculture in Libya. Seed assemblages from three large archaeological projects are discussed: from Ti-n-Torha and Uan Muhuggiag in the Acacus Mountains in south-west Libya, from Zinchecra in the Wadi el-Agial in Fezzan, southern Libya, and from 12 settlements in the pre-desert of Tripolitania, north-western Libya. Evidence for the exploitation of wild plant resources has been recovered from early to mid-Holocene sites in the Acacus; the earliest evidence for agriculture in Libya recorded so far comes from a Garamantian settlement in Fezzan dated to the first millennium BC; while the evidence from the Tripolitanian pre-desert indicates that during the Roman period a flourishing agricultural economy was maintained through a complex system of water management. The majority of the crop plants attested at these sites are of Near Eastern or Mediterranean origin, only the date palm and the water melon are of African origin. The need for further study of the formation processes of dessicated plant remains was identified.

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