Cyrenaica Archaeological Project

Project History
Extramural Sanctuary

Capacity Building

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Since excavations were suspended in 1981, the site of the Extramural Sanctuary has remained open to the elements, with no attention paid to its worsening condition, in spite of its historical significance. Wind, weather, and unchecked vegetation have also had their effect on the exposed walls of the sanctuary, especially the large retaining wall on the northern side of the complex. The recent use of the Wadi bel Gadir as an open sewer drain for new Shahat has further hastened the deterioration of the area.

Sanctuary of Demeter and Persophne (1981)

Sanctuary of Demeter and Persophne (2006)

In January and February 2007, with the support of a grant to Oberlin College from the U.S. State Department Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, some modest initial repair work was begun. In contract with the American Mission and the Department of Antiquities in Shahat, a Libyan company, the Tasharukiat Ein-Alhofra Company, directed by Said Farag Bel-Hassan and Abdul Hamid (two retirees from the Department of Antiquities), undertook the first stages of remedial work, beginning with preliminary cleaning, which involved filling holes and removing loose stones and earth that were the result of illicit excavations. Several trees that had grown on the retaining wall, causing stones to shift out of place, were removed, and after their roots were cut the condition of the wall was assessed. Some shifted stones were put back in place, and preliminary consolidation work was done to select areas of the face of the wall. The two galleries that cut into the retaining wall were buttressed to prevent collapse.

Removing tree roots from the northern retaining wall (2007)

Retaining wall gallaries under repair (2007)

Although the work in 2007 provided some immediate improvement of the condition of the northern retaining wall, a good deal of work remains to be done to stabilize and restore the Sanctuary.

Sanctuary of Demeter and Persophne (2010)

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