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Reconstructing the discoveries of Alan Rowe at Cyrene

  • James Copland Thorn

Alan Rowe excavated on four campaigns in the Cyrene necropoleis from 1952–1957, but his final publications were incomplete and misleading, and the original records were apparently lost prior to his death in 1968. This is an account of the attempt to re-assess what he found, and of the project to present his discoveries in a more useful form.

The importance of Rowe's work is that he was the first person to make an extensive archaeological study of the monuments and tombs of the four necropoleis of Cyrene. His predecessors in the 19th century limited their activities to a few individual tombs mainly around Wadi Haleg Shaloof and Wadi Bel Gadir. The first archaeological excavation this century, undertaken by Richard Norton in 1911 on the western slope of Wadi Haleg Shaloof (Norton 1911, 160), its extent unmatched until Rowe's campaigns forty years later, received only preliminary publication and the material found is mainly lost. The only other archaeological work undertaken in the necropoleis was by Oliverio in 1925 on Tomb N.1, whose artifacts are also now lost, and by Burton Brown who excavated two sarcophagi and a Roman burial in 1947 on the slopes of the Northern Necropolis; the artifacts discovered then have not been seen since publication (Burton Brown 1948, 148–152 figs. I–II). After Rowe's campaigns, Professor Beschi excavated two tombs in 1963 (Beschi 1972, 150–168, 186–196). There has been some survey since, but no formal excavation.

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Libyan Studies
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