Libyan excavations have added depth to modern archaeology

By Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès

The French writer Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès tells how he pursued his dream of uncovering “fragments of raw beauty long since forgotten” from the depths of the sea, an emotional experience very different from a treasure hunt.

Between 1986 and 2001, the novelist took part in underwater archaeological excavations off the coast of Libya, exploring that “unseen part of ourselves” which must be carefully and respectfully protected.

It all began in 1985. Not long returned from his first terrestrial dig with the French archaeological mission in Libya — one of the privileges of friendship — Claude Sintes [Director of the Museum of Ancient Arles] wasted no time in sharing his experiences with me: coming from Apollonia, he had seen Cyrene, Sabratha and Leptis Magna — Greek and Roman remains surpassing in size everything we knew or could have imagined.

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Libya treasure hunt Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès Claude Sintes