Cyrenaica Archaeological Project

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Project History
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Extramural Sanctuary

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Project History

The first scientific archaeological mission to Cyrene was led by Richard Norton on behalf of the Archaeological Institute of America in the early 20th century. Subsequent foreign archaeological missions from America, Italy, and the United Kingdom have excavated in Cyrene for more than a century.

The most recent American archaeological mission in Cyrene began excavation in 1969 in the extra-mural Sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone in the Wadi bel Gadir. The project was first conducted under the auspices of the Kelsey Museum of Ancient and Mediaeval Archaeology at the University of Michigan. However, when its Director, Professor Donald White, joined the University of Pennsylvania in 1973, the project's sponsorship shifted to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

The American Archaeological Mission's excavations were conducted between 1969 and 1978 when excavation work was suspended to allow for the study of the material that had been revealed. Two further study seasons took place in 1979 and 1981 before political problems between the US and Libya led to the project's suspension. The results of the project were presented in a series of articles in Libya Antiqua and the American Journal of Archaeology between 1971 and 1977 and, from 1984, a seven volume Final Report published by the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania.

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