Floods change the face of an ancient site… hidden landmarks are revealed while others may disappear

According to a recent report by Reuters, the ancient Greek city of Cyrene, located in the mountains near Shahhat, has suffered damage due to recent floods. The local antiquities official, Adel Abufajra, disclosed this information while also revealing that the disaster has led to the discovery of new archaeological remains as the floodwaters washed away earth and stones.

The floods have increased the risk of subsidence at archaeological sites and could potentially topple one of the archaeological landmarks. The deluge has resulted in an accumulation of mud and debris in Cyrene’s baths, dating back to the Greek era, necessitating specialized removal efforts.

Despite relatively minimal damage to archaeological landmarks so far, Abufajra expressed concerns about the potential collapse of one of the known archaeological landmarks due to excess groundwater during the winter season.

Interestingly, while the floods posed a significant threat to the antiquities of Cyrene, they have also unearthed a previously unknown Roman drainage system. The city has been a point of attraction for travelers since the 18th century.

Abufajra highlighted that the floods have revealed a new site for a water channel, believed to date back to the Roman era. This discovery is considered a significant addition to the city’s historical landscape.

Scientists from the “World Weather Attribution” group have indicated that climate change has resulted in up to 50% more rainfall during the storm than in previous years. This underscores future risks threatening heritage sites.

Cyrene, known today as “Shahhat”, is one of UNESCO’s five major World Heritage Sites in Libya. It boasts extensive ancient ruins overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and was a major city in the ancient Hellenic world before becoming a significant center under Roman rule until it was hit by an earthquake in 365 AD.


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