Document Reference NumberD16
TitlePapers of the British Institute for Libyan and Northern African Studies (BILNAS)
DescriptionCorrespondence, reports, corporate plans, project documents, grant applications and photographs of the British Institute for Libyan and Northern African Studies (formerly the Libya Exploration Society then the Society for Libyan Studies)..

The collection features records relating to the foundation of the Libya Exploration Society (subsequently the British Institute for Libyan and Northern African Studies), the administration of the Institute and material pertaining to the numerous subcommittees, namely, the Council, the Executive Committee, Publications Committee, Archaeological Fieldwork Committee and the Garamantes Project Steering Committee.

The Institute began to establish its archive in 1987; the records were initially held in the University of Newcastle upon Tyne before being moved to the University of Leicester. They also own a library of books and volumes pertaining to Libya which is currently in the possession of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Records pertaining to the establishment and administration of the Society's Archive and Library are present within the collection.
Date31 July 1968 - 5 February 2008
Extent11 boxes; 83 files and 214 items
ArrangementThe collection has been arranged into eight series:

1. Institute Correspondence
2. Institute Documents and Reports
3. Subcommittees
4. Annual General Meetings
5. Projects and Grants
6. Archive and Library Administration
7. Miscellaneous Documents
8. Photographs
AdminHistory"The Society for Libyan Studies was formed in 1969 with the aim of formalising, encouraging and co-ordinating British scholarly research in Libya. British involvement in this area of North Africa and particularly the archaeology of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania followed in the footsteps of the Second World War.

The work of the late Sir Mortimer Wheeler, John B. Ward Perkins and Richard Goodchild (who was to become the Controller of Antiquities in Cyrenaica in the newly independent kingdom of Libya) initiated major urban excavations at sites such as Cyrene, Sabratha and Leptis Magna, and numerous surveys of both provinces (primarily by Goodchild) and a special study of the Christian antiquities.

The formal establishment of the Society for Libyan Studies was intended to reorganise the longstanding British academic involvement and act as an independent institution to promote further work in a changing political situation. The Society's membership is international and includes many Libyan academics and students."

G.D.B. Jones, "Statement for the British Academy: The Society for Libyan Studies", (July, 1985).

The Institute now supports and undertakes research relating to the history, antiquities, culture, languages, literature, art, institutions, customs and natural history of Libya and North Africa more widely; cooperates with other organisations sharing same fields of interests; arrange for the publication of research in these fields; held lectures and meetings for Institute 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 and North African culture and society.
AccessStatusAvailable for general access
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