Trans-SAHARA: State Formation, Migration and Trade in the Central Sahara (1000 BC - AD 1500)
A major project that seeks to investigate the nature and consequences of the inter-connectivity of the Trans-Saharan zone in the Pre-Islamic period.
The Garamantes of Fazzan, Libya were an indigenous Saharan society with towns, oasis agriculture and trading contacts with both the Mediterranean and Sub-Saharan Africa. Generously funded by the ERC, this five-year project builds on previous archaeological research (The Fazzan Project, Desert Migrations Project and Peopling the Desert Project) to understand the place of the Garamantes in the pre-Islamic Sahara.
Trans-SAHARA is built around a series of research themes designed to explore the degree of interconnectedness or comparative isolation of the Central Sahara from neighbouring regions to north, east, south and south-west:
- Workgroup 1: Urbanisation and state formation
- Workgroup 2: Trade
- Workgroup 3: Mobile technologies
- Workgroup 4: Human mobility and identity
Our four research themes formed the basis for two double-themed conferences focusing in April 2014 on (1) the extent and commodities of trade and (2) evidence of human migration and identity formation as revealed by funerary archaeology; and then in April 2015 on (3) the nature of state formation and urbanisation and (4) technological change and identifiable markers of technology transfer. See reports on the conferences.
- The Project Investigator: Professor David Mattingly
- Postdoctoral Research Fellows: Dr Martin Sterry (Leicester), Dr Chloe Duckworth (Leicester), Dr Victoria Leitch (Leicester), Dr Aurelie Cuenod (Leicester) and Dr Ronika Power (Cambridge)
- Honourary Visiting Fellows: Dr Fran Cole (UCL Qatar), Dr Nick Ray (Oxford)
- Antiquity Prize 2013 and Open Access: Mattingly, D.J. and Sterry M. 2013. The first towns in the central Sahara. Antiquity 87 (336): 503-18.
- Mattingly, D.J. et al. 2013. The Archaeology of Fazzān. Volume 4, Survey and Excavations at Old Jarma (Ancient Garama) carried out by C.M. Daniels (1962-69) and the Fazzān Project (1997-2001). Society for Libyan Studies Monograph 9. London.
- Mattingly, D.J., Sterry, M. and Leitch, V. 2013. Fortified farms and defended villages of Late Roman and Late Antique Africa. Antiquité Tardive 21: 99-119.
See our full list of publications