British Institute for Libyan and Northern African Studies

The British Institute for Libyan and Northern African Studies is a British academic body, sponsored by the British Academy, which since 1969 has fostered and developed links between British and Libyan scholars in a wide range of fields including the natural sciences, linguistics, archaeology, history and geography. It publishes a journal, detailed reports on its field projects, and a popular series of travel books. It also runs a regular lecture series in London on a wide range of topics relating to Libyan culture and heritage, which are open to the public.

The Society publishes detailed reports on its field projects as part of a monograph series. In addition, Silphium Press is the popular imprint of The Society for Libyan Studies, dedicated to works of more general interest on Libya. Found only in Cyrenaican Libya, it was appreciated throughout the Mediterranean world from the seventh century BC to the first century AD when it became extinct, probably through overexploitation. Their logo is inspired by images on the coins of Cyrene.

Résistance et dévotion Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 200
ISBN: 9781915808035
Pub Date: 31 Dec 2023
Imprint: British Institute for Libyan and Northen African Studies
Series: British Institute for Libyan and Northern African Studies Monograph
A volume presents a detailed study of the memory of ancient mosques in Djerba, with a well-illustrated corpus of 48 buildings to build the history of the Ibadites and their struggle for the preservation of their identity. The main source is Rasā’il d’al-Ḥīlātī (m. 1099/1688-1689), which demonstrates the importance of piety and study to these people. The very strong presence of religion is felt in the multiplicity of places of prayer and in the sacred meshwork of the island which al-Ḥīlātī demonstrates. At any time, in any place, whether it be by the tomb of a prestigious scholar, a small prayer square or a mosque, religion and respect for the ancestors are remembered by the faithful. An analysis of the buildings shows their particular infrastructure, with a defensive nature (buttresses, thick walls, defensive parapets, loopholds and machicolations) – demonstrating the presence of both internal struggles (between Wahbite Ibadies and Nukkārites) and external threats from Tunis or European powers. They defended their particularism in a Maghreb that is more and more Malikite and more and more Arabized.
Ancient Olive Presses and Oil Production Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 176
ISBN: 9781915808004
Pub Date: 25 Oct 2022
Imprint: British Institute for Libyan and Northen African Studies
This masterly study presents the first comprehensive overview of olive oil production in Cyrenaica, North-East Libya, during the mid to late Roman period. The evidence collected by the author overturns previous assumptions about the small-scale of this industry and convincingly demonstrates its economic importance in both urban and rural settings. The typology and characteristics of Cyrenaican pressing elements and gazetteer of sites confirm this work as an essential reference volume for studies of ancient production and open up questions about the Cyrenaica’s role in producing olive oil for local, regional and Mediterranean markets.
Camel Tracks Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 300
ISBN: 9781914268014
Pub Date: 28 Dec 2021
Imprint: Society for Libyan Studies
Camels, one of creation's most remarkable animals, are celebrated through this fascinating historical study of their place in the modern imperial era. Goudie's wide-ranging research into the exploration and use of camels reveals dramatic stories and personalities, with an impressive geographical coverage. Descriptions of their biology, value and benefits, travellers' stories then link them to their historical context. Accompanied by splendid paintings, drawings, photos, and maps, and with an extensive bibliography, this volume entertains at the same time as providing a very comprehensive historical account of these amazing beasts.
Building the Countryside Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 250
ISBN: 9781900971775
Pub Date: 10 Dec 2021
Imprint: Society for Libyan Studies
This volume brings together data collected from both previously published surveys and new data collected using satellite imagery on the architecture and construction of over 2,400 rural structures in nine different regions of Tripolitania and dating between the 1st c. BC and the 7th c. AD. This first part contextualises the material within the historical background of Tripolitania, previous investigations and methodological foundations, the evidence for pre-Roman architectures and settlement, and the chronology of rural settlement during the period under study based on ceramic evidence.   The second part presents quantitative and qualitative analyses of the physical characteristics first of Roman military structures, and then of the main group of buildings under investigation: unfortified and fortified farm buildings. The ways in which different spaces may have been utilised and the spatial relationships between the settlement groups formed by these buildings provide insight into how and why different types of buildings developed in the countryside during between the 1st c. BC and the 7th c. AD. These analyses demonstrate that the rural buildings of Tripolitania can be seen as meaningful reflections not only of the wide variety of activities taking place in the buildings themselves, but also of the varying histories and patterns of land-use in different parts of the region and even the status, wealth, and socio-cultural structures of the people who constructed and lived in them.
Desert Drivers Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 96
ISBN: 9781900971973
Pub Date: 15 Dec 2020
Imprint: Society for Libyan Studies
A new volume in the Society for Studies series Short North African Histories, this book brings togeher the best stories of intrepid desert drivers in the early 20th century, crossing the vast and sometimes dangerous expances of the Sahara.   The exploration of the Sahara - a huge swathe of terrain, the size of India - by motor car is one of the untold chapters in the story of 20th century exploration. This revised  version of the successful title Wheels Across the Desert, looks at the intrepid drivers who crossed the desert in the early 20th century - bothmilitary and civilian.
Light Car Patrols 1916-19 Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781900971966
Pub Date: 15 Dec 2020
Imprint: Silphium Press
Captain Claud Williams’ memoir tells, first-hand, what it was like to be a Light Car Patrol commander during the First World War, while Russell McGuirk’s commentary provides the historical background to the formation of the Patrols and follows their activities from the British raid on Siwa Oasis to desert exploration and survey work and the Kufra Reconnaissance Scheme. Lavishly illustrated with original photographs from Light Car officers, this combined memoir and history provides a fascinating and informative picture of an unsung hero of the desert – the Model T Ford.
Rural Settlement and Economic Activity Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 216
ISBN: 9781900971294
Pub Date: 31 Aug 2020
Imprint: Society for Libyan Studies
Rural Settlement and Economic Activity is a key new addition to literature on the rural economy of Tripolitania during Antiquity. The chapters explore the geography and climate of the area and present the results of the author’s archaeological survey. Settlement types and their constructions are examined, followed by a detailed analysis of olive oil presses and their production capacity. Finally, amphora production sites are discussed, with examples of the types of amphora and their capacities. The conclusions give an overview of the rural economy of Tarhuna during the Roman period, focusing on economic aspects and offering an astonishing new picture of this highly productive landscape
An Engraved Landscape - Volumes 1 and 2 Cover

An Engraved Landscape - Volumes 1 and 2

Format: 
Pages: 920
ISBN: 9781900971539
Pub Date: 02 May 2019
Imprint: Society for Libyan Studies
Series: Society for Libyan Studies Monograph
Pages: 920
ISBN: 9781900971379
Pub Date: 28 Jun 2021
Imprint: Society for Libyan Studies
The Sahara contains one of the most extensive and enigmatic collections of rock art in the world. An Engraved Landscape represents the main report on the rock art of the Wadi al-Ajal, south west Libya. Based on extensive fieldwork directed by the author between 2004 and 2009, and funded by the British Academy and Society for Libyan Studies, this monograph presents and synthesises a rich corpus of new engravings from an area of central importance in the cultural development of the Sahara. Spatial and quantitative analyses of the carvings reveal changing relationships between humans and the landscape over an 8000-year period from c.6000 BC to recent times. The volume is beautifully illustrated, with a substantial selection of the engraved panels presented in photographs and line drawings.
An Engraved Landscape Cover An Engraved Landscape Cover
Format: 
Pages: 310
ISBN: 9781900971515
Pub Date: 02 May 2019
Imprint: Society for Libyan Studies
Series: Society for Libyan Studies Monograph
Pages: 310
ISBN: 9781900971492
Pub Date: 30 Apr 2021
Imprint: Society for Libyan Studies
An Engraved Landscape is a contextual analysis of a substantial new corpus of engravings from the Wadi al-Ajal, situated in the Central Saharan region of south west Libya. The wadi is renowned as the heartland of the Garamantian civilization, which emerged from local mobile Pastoral communities in the 1st millennium BC, and dominated trans-Saharan trade and politics for over a thousand years. Extensive archaeological and palaeoenvironmental investigations in recent years have provided detailed insight into the later prehistory and protohistory of the wadi and surrounding areas. However, prior to the fieldwork detailed in this volume, only a handful of carvings had been recorded in the wadi. This volume is based on systematic survey, conducted between 2004 and 2009, which recorded around 2,500 previously unknown or unpublished engraved and inscribed rock surfaces. All forms of engraving, whether figurative or surface markings, were viewed as significant residues of human interaction with the rock surface and were recorded. The resulting database provides an opportunity to analyse the engravings in relation to their changing physical and cultural contexts, and the discussion offers a fresh interpretation of Saharan rock art based on this substantial new evidence. An Engraved Landscape also captures in detail a unique heritage resource that is currently inaccessible and threatened. This record of the fragile engravings provides an important source of information for researchers and students. The Gazetteer is presented in Volume 2.
An Engraved Landscape Cover An Engraved Landscape Cover
Format: 
Pages: 582
ISBN: 9781900971522
Pub Date: 02 May 2019
Imprint: Society for Libyan Studies
Series: Society for Libyan Studies Monograph
Pages: 582
ISBN: 9781900971508
Pub Date: 30 Apr 2021
Imprint: Society for Libyan Studies
An Engraved Landscape is a contextual analysis of a substantial new corpus of engravings from the Wadi al-Ajal, situated in the Central Saharan region of south west Libya. The wadi is renowned as the heartland of the Garamantian civilization, which emerged from local mobile Pastoral communities in the 1st millennium BC, and dominated trans-Saharan trade and politics for over a thousand years. Extensive archaeological and palaeoenvironmental investigations in recent years have provided detailed insight into the later prehistory and protohistory of the wadi and surrounding areas. However, prior to the fieldwork detailed in this volume, only a handful of carvings had been recorded in the wadi. This volume is based on systematic survey, conducted between 2004 and 2009, which recorded around 2,500 previously unknown or unpublished engraved and inscribed rock surfaces. All forms of engraving, whether figurative or surface markings, were viewed as significant residues of human interaction with the rock surface and were recorded. The resulting database provides an opportunity to analyse the engravings in relation to their changing physical and cultural contexts, and the discussion offers a fresh interpretation of Saharan rock art based on this substantial new evidence. An Engraved Landscape also captures in detail a unique heritage resource that is currently inaccessible and threatened. This record of the fragile engravings provides an important source of information for researchers and students. Volume 1 offers a synthetic discussion, as a companion to this Gazetteer.
Classical Antiquities of Algeria Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 328
ISBN: 9781900971546
Pub Date: 30 Mar 2019
Imprint: Society for Libyan Studies
Algeria is a large country, rich in visual remains of its long and complex history. The monuments of the Roman period are particularly impressive. This is partly because they are well-preserved, but also because the French, who colonised the region in the nineteenth century and ruled it until 1962, carried out extensive excavations and restorations. Algeria is not yet in the grip of the mass tourism which is engulfing better known destinations; now is therefore the time to explore its beautiful landscapes and rich cultural heritage. The Roman sites rank amongst the most impressive anywhere in the Mediterranean and represent an important aspect of the nation’s past. This guidebook will take you to all the sites, with a historical introduction, a detailed gazetteer of the principal museums and Roman sites and lavish provision of maps, plans and photographs.
De Africa Romaque Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 250
ISBN: 9781900971331
Pub Date: 01 Dec 2016
Imprint: Society for Libyan Studies
When the Roman Empire progressively expanded its influence over the North African continent, it encountered a very heterogeneous mix of peoples with a long and diverse history. This collection of papers from the conference De Africa Romaque:  Merging  Cultures   Across  North   Africa (Leicester, 2013), explores the mutual relationships between North African societies and Rome within this context. Moving away from traditional narratives of dominance and resistance, the discussions focus on bringing the local peoples of North Africa and their varied cultural features back into the fore.
Great Desert Explorers Cover
Format: Hardback
Pages: 352
ISBN: 9781900971454
Pub Date: 01 Dec 2016
Imprint: Society for Libyan Studies
Desert exploration, like climbing Everest or polar expeditions, is not for the faint-hearted, and many of the vivid tales within this fascinating biographical history end in tragedy. However, the informative and absorbing descriptions of the extraordinary journeys, challenges and achievements of these intrepid figures, are captivating. They risked their lives variously for good old fashioned epic adventure, solitude, fame, the answer to mythical questions and some were even spies. They experienced fear, excitement and hardship in their journeys into the unknown. There are many books on exploration but remarkably few on desert exploration. Moreover, some of the great desert explorers of the last three hundred years are now very little remembered or appreciated in comparison, say, with those who ventured to the poles, climbed Everest, or sought the source of the Nile. Yet, crossing unknown deserts is no less challenging. This volume finally brings these Great Desert Explorers into the limelight, with short, illustrated biographies of around 60 of the most interesting, intrepid and important explorers of the world’s greatest deserts. There is also a brief introduction to each desert region. The many original quotations, illustrations and maps, contemporary figures, as well as plates of a range of desert landscapes make this a colourful, lively and informative read.
Les mosquées ibadites du djebel Nafūsa Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 228
ISBN: 9781900971416
Pub Date: 30 Jun 2016
Imprint: Society for Libyan Studies
Series: Society for Libyan Studies Monograph
The mosques of the Djebel Nafūsa, little known and under threat, personify the continuity of traditions and faith of the Ibadites, who have retained their grip over the centuries on this rugged landscape, despite their many trials and tribulations. This book is the result of a mission carried out in 2010 with the photographer Axel Derriks and examines twenty or so mosques, bringing to light their architectural features and linking them to medieval Ibadite texts.
Operation Idris Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 248
ISBN: 9781900971256
Pub Date: 08 May 2015
Imprint: Silphium Press
Operation Idris provides the unofficial story behind the British Administration’s cultivation of Sayyid Mohammed Idris as the figurehead for their project of indirect rule in Cyrenaica.
Frontiers of the Roman Empire Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 96
ISBN: 9781900971164
Pub Date: 16 Sep 2013
Imprint: Society for Libyan Studies
The frontiers of the Roman Empire form the largest surviving monument of one of the world's greatest states, and stretch for around 7500 km through 20 countries. The remains of these have been studied for many centuries. Inscriptions, sculpture, weapons, pottery and artefacts created and used by the soldiers and civilians who lived on the frontier form the basis for this history and are outlined in this book. The physical remains of the frontiers are also visible in many parts of Africa, including towers and forts, stretches of defensive lines of stone and earth with ditches broken by gates, and roads. The aim of this book is to inform the interested visitor about the history of the frontiers and to act as a guidebook as well.Multi-language edition: English, French, German & Arabic