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Leicester-Cambridge Collaboration on DMP-Burials & Identity: Anthropological and Palaeopathological Analysis of the Human Remains from the Wadi al-Ajal

For nearly 1000 years, between 500 BC and 500 AD, the Garamantes lived in the area of the Fezzan in the Central Sahara of Libya. We find references to them in classical texts of Herodotus, Pliny and Tacitus, in which they appear as a somewhat warlike group of people. However, questions as to who the Garamantes were, how did they flourish in the desert, and what was their relationship to the Roman and Egyptian civilisations, remain un-answered. Numerous archaeological excavations directed by Prof. David Mattingly of the University of Leicester are searching for evidence to answer many of these questions.

Dr Marta Mirazon Lahr and Prof. Robert Foley carried out a preliminary study in 2002 of the Garamantian skeletons excavated by Charles Daniels between 1958-1977 as part of David Mattingly’s Fezzan Project. In 2007, Dr Marta Mirazon Lahr completed the work on the existing Garamantian human remains from the Daniels’ excavations, as well as begun the study of those excavated as part of the DMP by David Mattingly and his team. From 2008, the full osteological and palaeopathological analysis of the Garamantes skeletal remains excavated during the DMP was carried out by Efthymia Nikita, as part of her PhD dissertation under the supervision of Marta Mirazon Lahr. 

Nikita, E. (2010) The Garamantes of Fazzān: Bioarchaeological evaluation of desert-induced stress and Late Holocene human migrations through the Sahara. Ph.D. Thesis, LCHES, Faculty of Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Cambridge.

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