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Phoenician and Roman port on the North African coast in modern‐day Libya, excavated by Kathleen Kenyon between 1948 and 1951. Founded by the Phoenicians in the 5th century bc, it quickly became a major trading port. It was annexed to the Roman world in 46 bc, later becoming one of the three cities of the Roman Tripolitania, alongside Oea and Leptis Magna. The port was an important part of the sea‐routes of the western Mediterranean, but also served to connect the sea‐borne trade to the overland routes used by the trans‐Saharan caravans. The city enjoyed great prosperity during the early empire, and in the 2nd century ad was made a colonia. A number of bath buildings and the Antonine‐period theatre survive from this period. Sacked by the Austuriani in ad 363 and the Vandals in the 5th century, eventually the city enjoyed a second period of prosperity as part of the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century ad. New walls were constructed, albeit enclosing smaller areas than in earlier times. Occupation of the site ended about ad 643, when the city was taken by Arab forces.


P. M. Kendrick, 1986, Excavations at Sabratha 1948–1951: a report on the excavations conducted by Dame Kathleen Kenyon and John Ward‐Perkins. London: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies

Subjects: Archaeology.

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