This paper is a preliminary report on the eighth and final fieldwork (Spring 2006) season of the excavations at Euesperides (Benghazi). Work continued in Areas P and Q on the Sidi Abeid mound, in Area R in the lower city and on the processing of finds from the 2006 and previous seasons.
In Area P excavations continued below the primary floors of the antepenultimate phase in Room 5a where a series of inter-cutting pits beneath the primary floor provided a section through the stratigraphy to natural. The results of the work showed that occupation in the sixth to fourth centuries BC was less intensive and accumulated at a slower rate than in the Hellenistic period. Three phases of early activity were represented, with the earliest levels dated to the period c. 580–560 BC. A comparable picture emerged in Area R, but in Area Q a second-phase set of buildings laid out in or after the late sixth century BC, with houses flanking the street, persisted until late in the life of the city. Excavations in Area Q Extension revealed a large circular building with an internal floor of terracotta sherds set in cement, tentatively interpreted as part of a set of public baths. A late reuse of the building was indicated by a number of plaster-lined tanks formed over the terracotta floor. The presence of the building was taken to indicate that the building and an associated street, aligned over an in-filled quarry, may have been inter-mural, suggesting that the late city was of greater size than hitherto thought.
Selected finewares, coarsewares and amphorae from the excavations are presented, together with preliminary observations, resulting from the environmental sampling of occupation deposits.