Zooming into the long urban history of Simitthus, re-evaluating the 1980-excavations East of the Roman forum
"Zooming into the long urban history of Simitthus, re-evaluating the 1980-excavations East of the Roman forum" by Heike Möller, Philipp von Rummel, Moheddine Chaouali and Stefan Ardeleanu
Simitthus, modern Chimtou in Northwestern Tunisia, was one of the oldest towns of ancient North Africa. Famous for its precious yellow marble called marmor Numidicum, the quarries of which lay in the heart of the city, it became one of the most important towns and economic hubs of Northwestern Africa in Late Hellenistic and Roman times. This paper gives a diachronic overview of the town’s urban development over a timespan of over two millennia (8th c. BC – 12th c. AD). Special emphasis is given to a series of deep trenches opened to the East of the Roman forum in the 1980ies and recently re-evaluated by a Tunisian-German team. These investigations have revealed a spectacular sequence of complex settlement history from Early Iron Age well into the Middle Ages.
Dr. Heike Möller is Research Assistant at the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in Berlin (Germany) since 2017 and a specialist for Hellenistic, Roman and Late Antique pottery in the MENA-Region. She wrote her phD about pottery production and trade-networks in the Eastern Marmarica (Northwest Egypt) at the University of Freiburg and was part of many field projects in Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia. Her special interest are pottery production and trade-networks with a focus on technology and form transfer in regional and supra-regional context. Numerous articles on ceramics in context have been published by her, including in particular intensive studies on the material of the Eastern Marmarica (Egypt), Gadara and Jerash (Jordan) examined from different perspectives. She is currently part of the ISLAMAFR project, a German-English cooperation investigating conquest, ecology and economy in Islamic North Africa through the Medjerda valley.
Dr. Philipp von Rummel has been Secretary General of the German Archaeological Institute since 2014. He is an archaeologist who specialises on Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. His current research focuses on Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, with a special focus on questions of migration, identity and everyday life. He is currently co-PI of the AHRC-DFG funded project ISLAMAFR: Conquest, Ecology and Economy in Islamic North Africa (with M. Chaouali and C. Fenwick) and spokesperson of the GWK-DFG funded research data management consortium "NFDI4Objects" in the German National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI). His current field projects are based in Simitthus (Tunisia, co-directed with M. Chaouali) and Henchir Bourgou (Jerba, Tunisia, co-directed with S. Ben Tahar).
Dr. Moheddine Chaouali is a Researcher in the National Institute of Heritage in Tunis (Tunisia) and Inspector of the north west Tunisian heritage. Currently he is a Research Fellow at the RomanIslam - Center for Comparative Empire and Transcultural Studies of the Universität Hamburg. He has published several articles and chapters in Tunisian and international journals. His publications are about Roman and late antique archaelogy, epigraphy and history of the north west of Tunisia. He is a co-Director of international projects in archaelogical sites like Bulla Regia, Simitthus, Numluli… He is currently preparing the results of the Tunisian-English excavations of the new church in Bulla Regia and the Tunisian-German excavation of the imperial cult tempel in Simitthus
Dr. Stefan Ardeleanu is an archaeologist, who has been working on North African urbanism on a large geographical and chronological scale from the Early Iron Age to the Early Medieval period. He has been publishing various studies on pre- and early Roman settlements of North Africa, on funerary habits and epigraphy of the Late Antique oecumene, on trade networks and connectivity in the Western Mediterranean. He has studied and held several positions at the Universities of Heidelberg, Rome (La Sapienza), Aix-en-Provence, Berlin (HU), Tübingen, Osnabrück and at the German Archaeological Institute (Rome and Berlin), which granted him a one-year traveller scholarship across the Mediterranean in 2016–2017. His first book focused on the transition of urbanism from pre-Roman to Early Roman Numidia (2021), while edited works span from the re-edition of Roman and Late Antique stone monuments in the Reiß-Engelhorn-Museum at Mannheim (2021) to a Mediterranean-wide panorama on Late Antique funerary habits and epigraphy (under peer-review, 2022).