Leptis Magna, Libya

May 2009

In May 2009 a team from the British School at Rome travelled to the Libyan coast to perform a geophysical survey at Leptis Magna at the request of Marco Polo Storica.

Sculpture Leptis Magna

The project was surpervised by Professor Simon Keay (University of Southampton, the British School at Rome) and Professor Luisa Musso (Università degli Studi Roma Tre). The team undertook the magnetometry survey over a wide swath of the site, focusing along the shoreline due to potential future offshore development and with the intent of contributing to a conservation plan being developed by Marco Polo Storica. The topography of the coastal zone limited the areas that were accessible for the geophysical survey, resulting in three separate areas surveyed.

Magnetometer survey at Leptis Magna

Although there were significant limitations on the survey methodology imposed by the terrain and the modern surface debris, the results were successful in identifying a large number of features. In the area of the site between the Severan harbour and the amphitheater there were a significant number of mausolea discovered giving more information on the density and distribution of burials in this area than was previously known.

Mausoleum Gasr Shaddad Leptis Magna

Mausoleum Gasr Shaddad Leptis Magna


Geophysical Techniques: further information


Topgraphical Survey

Resistance and Tomography

Ground Penetrating Radar

Geophysics in Forma Urbis

Forma Urbis (Nov 2012) was dedicated to the work of the BSR and featured an article 'Citta e Territori' discussing the role of geophysics in understanding Roman urbanscapes and their territories.

Click here to read the article in English

Click here to read the article in Italian.

For further information about the archaeological survey services offered by the British School at Rome and APSS, please contact:

Sophie Hay
Geophysical Researcher
Archaeological Prospection Services of Southampton (APSS)
The British School at Rome
Via Gramsci, 61
Tel: +39 (0)6 326 49368
Fax: +39 (0)6 322 1201
E-Mail: S.A.Hay@soton.ac.uk