The Turkish Fort at Abu Kammash (after recent restoration).
The Turkish Fort of Abu-Kammash
The ancient Turkish fort was built close to the beach of Abu Kammash. The building blends beautifully well with the surrounding flowers and the rich-blue water of the harbour. The fort was guarded by Turkish soldiers until the Italian wars at the start of the 20th century. The above photo was taken after the fort has been restored, and unfourtunately we have no photos of what the actual fort looked like before then.
The Fishing Village of Abu Kammash
Abu Kammash is a small Berber village by the sea, located about 25 km from the Tunisian border. A low reef runs parallel to the shore for about two miles, enclosing a beautiful fishing harbour, and a small jetty with blue-painted fishing boats moored on both sides. The fist part of the jetty (or the landing-stage) is built of rocks and stone, and terminates in a wodden section, just as in the photo below. This small harbour does not look old, and one is left to presume that the ancient anchorage has been claimed by the sea, waiting to be discovered by future underwater archaeology. Indeed this has been already indicated by the recent discovery of a buried city and cemetery by the coast of Abu-Kammash (see below for photos).
The village was originally inhabited by a few Berber families from Zuwarah, who used it as a fishing village and as a crossing point to the peninsula of Farwah. This was partly due to the fact that Zuwarah, until recently, was a huge region spanning from Sabratha to the Tunisian border. Abu-Kammash is well known for catching "fish", and hence its name may come from the Berber verb "ekmesh" ('to catch') - "the place to catch good fish".
Fishing pots: the pots are connected with a rope and placed in the sea. Squid and octopus use the pots as 'home' for what they thought was a safe shelter - because the octopus does not have a shell, just a soft white flesh. The fishermen then pull the pots out with animals still inside.
Octopuses belong to the 150 species of marine mollusc, most of which have external shells. The name octopus comes from the Greek oktopous, which means octo (eight) and pous (foot), from the fact that it has eight arms, each of which bears two rows of suckers. The Arabic name okhtabut was derived from this Latin form, as clearly preserved by the etymology of octo (okhta). The Berbers call it abelboul, the etymology of which is unknown.
The Newly Discovered Archaeological City in Abu-Kammash
Is This The Ancient Punic-Roman Town of Pisindon?
The history of the village is not known, as there are hardly any written sources about Abu Kammash. According to At-Tijani's Travels in North Africa, Abu-Kammash once was part of Zuwarah and was inhabited by tribes from Zuwarah - a name which originally signified a whole region rather than a particular town. A recent archaeological discovery of an ancient city and a cemetery will shed more light on its early history once it has been properly studied.
The city was discovered by chance while workers were digging to install water pipes during the start of the new millennia (around 2001). The site extends a few kilometres along the coast and stretches in both directions: north beneath the sea, and south across the coastal road. Unfortunately, it was reported that many of the excavated graves and tombs were robbed by Moroccan labourers who were employed during the initial excavation shortly after the discovery.
The excavated parts have so far yielded funerary chambers with several graves of cremated bodies, whose bones were preserved in jars. Although the city appears to be of Roman character, excavations showed an earlier Phoenician, Berber or Punic layer beneath the city. The practice of building new buildings on top of earlier and much older ones was very common in the ancient world. Dig beneath a church, for example, and it is more likely you will find a pagan temple more than anywhere else.
Unprotected, Unstudied & Newly Discovered Archaeological City.
Welcome to the ancient tombs; the gates are wide open!
Is The Search For Atlantis Over?
The popular subject (or project) of Atlantis has defied the imagination, generated more than 5000 books, and has slowly but steadily steered away from its source and agreeably became an international taboo respected scholars dare not mention, in public. It is not the intention to associate this location with fanciful Atlantis nor this is the place to cover this issue. But it is important to familiarise oneself with the local culture once present in this region.
It is often neglected that the statements of the classical Greek scholars, the source of all this mystery and nonsense, were originally based on the account given to them by their Libyan teachers: the Berber priests of the Egyptian Delta, and hence the first people, ever, to mention the legend of Atlantis were the ancient Libyans - the Berbers.
It has been already suggested that although the original Libyan account of Atlantis was part of the oral local literature and as such part of the Libyan oral history (during a period when writing was yet to be invented), the Greek philosophers habitually used the information, they learnt in Egypt, to write works of fiction which epidemically spread like an infection. And, likewise, Greek mythology is powerfully rich in references to Libya and to this particular period from which it is blindingly apparent that the area of Lake Tritonis once was a major centre of civilisation and advanced culture: the seat of Poseidon's empire, which Zeus and, later on, the Argonauts, could not resist to visit; and from which many writers had fabricated their money-making and perhaps Aryan-oriented novels.
The big question which scholars have miserably failed to ask, let alone answer, is: what was Zeus doing in Libya? Was he a divine tourist? Was he there to ask his Mother for forgiveness? Why was Zeus struck by a terrible headache while walking along the shores of Lake Tritonis in west Libya?
Inside the vandalised Berber Cemetery.
The view of Farwah from Abu-Kammash.
Abukammash Chemical Complex
The chemical complex of Abu Kammash was built to produce household and industrial chemicals, including about 100,000 tons of ethylene dichloride per a year; 60,000 tons of PVC per a year; and 60,000 tons of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) per a year.
The plant is now a source of major pollution in the area, with mercury contaminating water and other toxins leaking over the scorched ground, poisoning wildlife, destroying the environment, and slowly spreading cancer in the region.
Abukammash Hazardous Chemical Pollution, as seen by Google (top, left).
The Berbers of Zuwarah have recently began "talking" about the sudden increase of reported cancer cases in Zuwarah, seemingly with no authority in site to investigate. The people still swim in the area and eat fish caught in the sea. The fact that the Berbers of Zuwarah now also use "bleach" to do their normal washing-up, adds more to the consequencess to come. Will the Berbers campaign to dismantle the "cancer machine"; or will they accept defeat and see their children suffer the brewing consequences in decades to come?
One would think the region would benefit if the complex be removed, or at least relocated elsewhere, to protect wildlife and to avert disaster; and instead turn Farwa to a tourist resort in preparation for the difficult times ahead. This area has an ancient archaeological heritage and wonderful sea resorts, Libya ought to respect for good. Let us hope Libyan politicians grant the preservation of nature and Libyan Tourism their utmost attention.
Instead, one of the
NTC ministers had recently visited Zuwarah, and promised the Berbers that his
government will do its best to restore the complex machine (having been neglected
in recent years) - presumably to continue the dangerous "project" initiated
Claims to Exterminate Zuwarah
According to "The New York Review of Books", Nicolas Pelham wrote:
The Sabkha is an extensive salt marsh straddling the Libyan-Tunisian border, rich in natural Artemia population. Walking across the Sabkha is very risky, but if you happened to find yourself there, please bear in mind that what appears to be a crusty salt on the surface may hide a blackhole beneath.
A Cable Link Between Abu Kammash And Sicily
According to the website of the