Chapter 6: The Gefara
The low-lying plain between the northern escarpment of the Djebel and the coastal belt was, in Roman times, as now, one of the most desolate tracts of the North African coast. Both on the borders of the Tripoli oasis and in the neighbourhood of Sabratha there is clear evidence of sand-encroachment in late antiquity and during the early Middle Ages; and it may be that the mobile sand-dunes, that now cover the greater part of the Gefara, are a post-classical feature, the product of ill-advised agricultural exploitation in classical times. But the geographical features, which determine the scanty modern rainfall, have not altered materially since antiquity, and it must always have been sparsely inhabited, better suited for seasonal grazing than for stable settlement. Inland from the coastal strip there are few antiquities. No inscriptions have been recorded.