Lost kingdom found in deserts of Libya

British archaeologists have discovered an ancient lost kingdom buried in the deserts of Libya following the fall of Colonel Gaddafi.

Using satellite imagery, the archaeologists have discovered more than 100 fortified farms and villages, including castles and towns, in Libya's uninhabited southwestern desert.

The lost cities date from between AD 1 and AD 500. They belong to a little-known ancient civilisation called the Garamantes, who have been described as 'advanced' due to the discovery of underground water channels built for agriculture.

David Mattingly, a professor of Roman archaeology at the University of Leicester, said in a press release: “It is like someone coming to England and suddenly discovering all the medieval castles. These settlements had been unremarked and unrecorded under the Gadhafi regime.”

When speaking of the ancient civilisation, Mattingly said: “In fact, they were highly civilized, living in large-scale fortified settlements, predominantly as oasis farmers. It was an organized state with towns and villages, a written language and state of the art technologies. The Garamantes were pioneers in establishing oases and opening up Trans-Saharan trade.

“These represent the first towns in Libya that weren't the colonial imposition of Mediterranean people such as the Greeks and Romans. The Garamantes should be central to what Libyan school children learn about their history and heritage.”

The Leicester team were forced to evacuate from Libya in February when the anti-Gadhafi revolt began but hope to return as soon as the country regains stability.

We think Libya’s a real up-and-coming destination for 2012 and a great place to head on your gap year.

So, would you head to Libya on your gap year? What ancient monuments have you come across on your travels?