Roman cemetery discovered in Djerba

A chance discovery of around 100 Roman graves was made recently near el Kantara on the island of Djerba. Employees working for the STEG (Tunisian Society of Electricity and Gas) as well as employees from the Ministry of Equipment and Housing uncovered the graves while they were carrying out work in the region. 

Roman era finds at Fort Borj el Kbir in the town of Houmt Souk, the administrative capital of the island of Djerba [Credit: croisbeauty/Virtual Tourist]
An employee from the STEG, who was present when the discovery was made, confirmed that while the staff was digging to repair a gas pipeline they discovered fragments of marble, pottery, clothes, coins, and human bones. The employees did not recognize that the area was a cemetery until they invited archaeologists to investigate the site. 

Youssef el Cherif, a Tunisian archaeologist, said that the graves discovered in el Kantara appeared to be connected to the archaeological site of Meninx. 

The Island of Djerba [Credit: TunisiaLive]
Originally a manufacturing center established by Phoenicians as early as the 10th Century BC, Meninx developed into an important and prosperous economic city under the Romans thanks to its strategic position at the geographical crossroads of ancient trade routes. At its peak Meninx was the capital of the island and boasted thermal baths, an amphitheater, a theater, a basilica and possibly a forum. 

A team of archaeologists will begin a more detailed investigation of the new discovery in the coming days. 

Author: Faten Bouraoui | Source: TunisiaLive [February 14, 2012]

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