Heritage Gazetteer of Libya, and the Online Archives of the British Institute for Libyan and Northern African Studies. Available: https://slsgazetteer.org/

In 2008 a team from Germany, the UK and the US received funding for the Concordia project, to explore the use of geodata to enhance interoperability in online publications. The pilot project aimed to use the republication of the Inscriptions Of Roman Tripolitania, published in 1952. The inscriptions in that collection had been located by the editors using the data available to them at the time. This included a range of toponyms, imposed by external entities from antiquity until the 20th century, together with interpretations and transliterations of local names. For several decades mapping Libya had been a sensitive security matter; but the release of Google Earth (from 2001) had changed the situation. Dr Hafed Walda worked to bring order to these data, using Google Earth, Geonames, and his own extensive knowledge of the area.

The resultant database contained a rich collection of data; to this Dr Walda proceeded to add data from the material collected for the Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica project.  It became increasingly clear that these data could usefully be made available to a wider public.  In 2013-2015, thanks to a grant from the Leventis Foundation, Charlotte Roueché and other colleagues at King’s College London had developed an online Gazetteer for Cyprus, a place equally characterised by complex toponyms (Heritage Gazetteer of Cyprus); building on that experience Neil Jakeman of King’s Digital Lab built a vehicle to display the data from Libya, the Heritage Gazetteer of Libya, first published in 2016. To this framework we have been adding heritage data gathered by other members of the British Institute for Libyan and Northern African Studies, and enriching the information about locations: in 2020-2021 substantial contributions were made by students at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, managed by Dr Valeria Vitale, as Kathleen Kenyon Fellow in Libyan Cultural Heritage.

The HGL is now managed by the Archive of the British Institute for Libyan and Northern African Studies, and its honorary collections officer Valeria Vitale, who will be responsible for future developments.