The Society for Libyan Studies was founded in 1969. Its aims are to encourage and co-ordinate scholarship on Libya and to foster relations between Libyan scholars and those working outside Libya on Libyan subjects. In this regard, it seeks through its activities to:
- support and undertake research relating to the history, antiquities, culture, languages, literature, art, institutions, customs and natural history of Libya; and organise and promote missions to Libya for these purposes;
- cooperate with other organisations sharing the same fields of interest;
- arrange for the publication of research in these fields;
- hold lectures and meetings for Society members and other interested parties;
- publish an annual Journal (Libyan Studies) and other publications which will enhance and promote public knowledge of all aspects of Libyan culture and society.
- The Society is governed in accordance with rules first adopted in 1969 and subsequently modified in 1974, 1982 and 2010. The Society is sponsored by the British Academy and is recognised by the Charity Commission as an unincorporated association.
The Importance of Libya
Libya is a country which has always been the focus of human civilisation and development, as witnessed by the country’s five sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List. However, Libya’s heritage encompasses a much older record of human activity extending for hundreds of thousands of years. The Society and its teams conducting field research in Libya have received much support from people in Libya since the Society’s inception; and all those who have worked there have been impressed by the generosity and spirit of Libyan citizens.
Since its foundation in 1969 the Society has sponsored many differing projects in Libya within a variety of subject areas including archaeology, education, geography, geology, history and Islamic law. Hitherto, it has concentrated on supporting long-term archaeological projects and their subsequent publication, including excavations and surveys at Euesperides (Benghazi), Sidi Khrebish (Berenice), Cyrene, Lepcis Magna and in the Fezzan. But recent projects have included a multi-disciplinary survey in the pre-desert valleys of Tripolitania, Islamic excavations at Barca (El Merj) and Medinet Sultan, and the publication of excavations conducted at Sabratha and Lepcis Magna in the 1950s.
In light of the political and security problems which Libya has been facing since the fall of the Qaddafi regime in 2011, there has never been more important time to focus on the protection, preservation and study of Libya’s unique heritage.