Archaeologists Unearth Roman City in Morocco

Published September 7th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

RABAT (Albawaba)- A team of Moroccan and Italian archaeologists started excavations last week to unearth a Roman city, dating back to the second century BC. The site, known as Thamusida, is located on the bank of Morocco's largest river, Sebou, some 50 km north of the capital Rabat. 

"Signs for the existence of the ancient city date back to 1930, when a French archaeological team was exploring the area," said Ammar Akraz, head of the 15-member Moroccan-Italian excavation team. 

The Romans lived during the second century BC in Thamusida, where they erected military barracks and a fortress, said the archaeologist. The fortress is believed to be largest Roman construction in what was then known as Tingitane Mauritania, the present Morocco. 

The architecture of the fortress, and the ceramic and the jewelry items found at the site, so far indicate that Thamusida prospered under Roman rule. 

Commercial, industrial and military activities were the backbone of the city's economy, says Moroccan historian, M'Chich Alami. "Thamusid was a large military base, a big river port and a major trading center in Morocco," he said. 

Built on over 13 hectares of land, Thamusida is surrounded by a large wall, with several towers to protect it against enemy attacks. The western part of the city includes a large military camp, an industrial section with a salting factory, a warehouse and metal ovens, while the eastern district consists of two temples, lodging quarters and a necropolis. 

Thamusida's houses are large and well planned, recalling those of Volubilis, another major Roman city located in the Atlas Mountains, near the city of Fes. 

The items found by the archaeologists in Thamusida include bronze statues, vases, lamps, amphorae and coins. 



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