Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, March 03, 2011

As we saw in Egypt, archaeologists are often the last foreigners to leave a troubled country and an Italian team only left Libya on Saturday:

The team of seven men and four women were from the Italian–Libyan Archaeological Mission in the Acacus and Messak, an expedition to research prehistoric archaeology and rock-art. They took temporary refuge in an oilfield camp in the open desert. Stress levels were high, explains Savino di Lernia, head of the team: "We were hundreds of kilometres from an airport, with the entire country to be crossed to reach it," he says. In a Twin Otter light aircraft, they had to make their way at short notice to Sebha airport in central Libya to rendezvous with the evacuation plane.
As well as the report of this Italian-Libyan mission, the article addresses more general concerns to the antiquities of Libya.  For anybody who doesn't know the location of the main sites, there is a map.  Click on it to get a much bigger version with legible labels.  In addition, there two major museums in Tripoli and dessert rock art along the Egyptian border.  Sites near the capital are most at risk; remote dessert sites are thought to be relatively safe.

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