In 1997, the .Joint Italian-Libyan Archaeological Mission in the Akakus and Messak (Libyan Sahara)., presently directed by Savino di Lernia, started a program of historical archaeology aimed at recovering remains of the Garamantian period, ca 800 BC to 350 AD. One of the selected sites is Fewet, a small but well nucleated oasis some 10 km SW of Ghat. After a first sounding in 2001, part of the settlement was excavated in 2002-2003, and the adjacent necropolis was surveyed in 2003. The excavated settlement is a rounded compound, with a perimeter wall of stones and mud bricks and a series of small dwelling units, with partition walls in mud bricks, around a central empty space and a communal well. One half of the compound is well preserved, with smashed pottery and remains of carbonized seeds and basketry on the sandy floors. The site is radiocarbon dated to the 2nd-1st centuries BC. The necropolis, including ca 1000 tumuli (but the survey is not yet complete) extends over the entire course of Garamantian history, about one millennium or more, and the typological development - from conical to drum-shaped tumuli - is confirmed by the associated pottery from Final Pastoral to Post-Garamantian times. The site of Fewet provides a good example of a small rural settlement at the SW border of the Garamantian kingdom, and the entire research project (geology and palaeo-environmental studies, archaeological excavation and survey) helps to figure out the life and the material culture in a small Saharan oasis of the proto-historical period.
This article describes the research questions and presents the initial ams dates of the Middle Draa Project (southern Morocco), a collaborative field survey project between the University of Leicester and the Institut National des Sciences de l’Archéologie et du Patrimoine (insap) of Morocco. Starting from a very low baseline of past archaeological research in this pre-desert valley, the overall objective of the project is to establish the extent, character and chronology of the rich archaeology of the Wadi Draa. The results presented here detail a hitherto unknown phase of major occupation in the Draa in the 4th-6th centuries ad evidenced by complex hilltop settlements and extensive cairn cemeteries (an initial typology is presented). A second medieval phase comprised major urban centres that are contemporary with the Almoravid and Almohad periods of Moroccan history. Alongside these urban centres, there are the remains of substantial mudbrick oasis settlements and irrigation and field-systems of a contemporary date. A key contribution of this paper concerns the construction of an outline chronology based upon initial analysis of the ceramics collected, but crucially supplemented and supported by a major program of ams dating. The remote sensing and field survey data collected by the project enable us to develop some hypotheses concerning the long-term history of this important oasis valley.