The project of mapping the chora of Cyrene, for the team of Chieti University, started between 1999 and 2001 as a layer of a ‘macro-GIS’ of the area to the east of Cyrene, that is, the transect between Cyrene and El-Gubba/Qubbah. Because of the large scale of the area and the monumentality of the sites, the team is composed of several research units based around a large number of scholars and technicians. The project employs a suite of traditional methodologies for the study of landscape archaeology (surveys, GIS mapping, differential GPS, excavations), in combination with technologies integrating the knowledge of the territory (remote sensing on HD satellite photos, geomorphological reconstruction, laser scanning, archaeometric analysis, non-invasive geophysical prospection and infrared diagnostic analysis). The large quantity of data coming from this wide approach has been organised into a flexible and multilayer GIS. A joint team of Libyan and Italian archaeologists and technicians is testing a common protocol for monitoring the monuments and sites in the territory, using surveys and remote sensing analysis, which has intensified during these problematic periods, and regularly analysing satellite sets over the past four years.
The project aims to map and document as much as possible in this territory, to identify the location of the region's so-called ‘minor sites’, which are numerous and almost unknown. They were, from the Late Classical to the Islamic periods, vital sites for the management of the local economy. This paper presents the main issues relating to settlements and sites in Late Antiquity, concentrating mainly on fortifications along the limes and basilicas within the area of the transect. Moreover, in the presentation of the data, the GIS approach has been integrated here with data coming both from the remote sensing and from more traditional research approaches, such as planimetrical and typological analysis of the buildings, study of the sources and detailed mapping of the building techniques.