chapter  7
Deciphering ‘Lost’ Urban Landscapes at Cyrene
ByGareth Sears, Vince Ganey, Chris Ganey, Richard Cuttler,
Pages 30

Cyrene is located 9.5 km from the Mediterranean Sea on the Djebel Akhdar (or Gebel el-Akhdar), the ‘Green Mountain’. e site is a complex one because of the area’s underlying geology and the eect of wadi development. Cyrenaica’s coastal plain near Cyrene is only around 1 km wide, aer which there is a line

of steep clis of around 300 m in height. South of this cli line is a plateau of 6-8 km in depth, comprising a limestone terrace, covered by red soils, that ends with another chain of clis, again around 300 m in height; Cyrene sits on top of this second line of clis. To the south of the city is another plateau, which gently slopes downwards towards the Sahara desert. Cyrene thus sits on a series of terraces. A number of steep wadis, cutting through the limestone plateau, surround the city, meaning that ancient Cyrene is dened by clis dropping away towards the lower plateau on the north but also by two wadis, namely the Wadi Bel Gadir and the Wadi Bu Turchia. e former denes the western limits of the city, whilst the latter emerges out of the site itself and its valley splits Cyrene’s eastern and western halves, impeding access between the two. ese topographic features create distinct physical divisions between areas such as the Upper Town and the Sanctuary of Apollo, eectively creating a multi-focal site and adding to a complex urban history.