The reign of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya may barely be over, but already the country is starting to yield up its ancient secrets. A team of British archaeologists, using satellite imaging, has discovered the remains of a lost civilization in a remote corner of the Sahara that has been missing for 1500-2000 years. They believe that the discovery has unearthed a civilization that was known as the Garamantes, and the evidence suggests that they were more advanced than was previously believed.
All told, more than 100 buildings have been identified so far, including farms, a cemetery, and a castle like structure with walls standing 13 feet tall. The Garamantes civilization was believed to have consisted of a number of unified city-states that sprung up along fertile oasis in the Sahara, opening the door for trade across that region.
The discovery of this ancient civilization, which is just now starting to be explored, is viewed as a significant cultural and historical one for the people of Libya. Under Gadhafi, much of their ties to their ancient roots were suppressed, but now that the dictator is dead, the people are free to celebrate their heritage again. The archaeological find could eventually play a part in bringing tourism to the country as well, once it has stabilized and a new government is formed.
The team that made the discovery has been out of Libya since February, when the uprisings against Gadhafi began. They continued their research using high-resolution satellite images however, and are now eager to return to the desert to begin the painstakingly slow process of digging out their find.
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