Thamusida was a Berber, Carthaginian, and Roman river port that was near the present-day towns of Kénitra and Mehdia in Morocco. Under the Roman Empire, it formed a northern part of the province of Mauretania Tingitana.
Shown within Morocco
|Location||Sidi Ayache, Kénitra Province, Rabat-Salé-Kénitra, Morocco|
The Punic form of the name was TMDʿT (𐤕𐤌𐤃𐤏𐤕). Because the original name intended a hard, breathy /tʰ/ sound instead of the usual English /θ/, the same name is also sometimes written Tamusida or Tamusia. It is probably identical with the Thymiateria mentioned by Pseudo-Scylax.
The city originally was a Berber settlement. It was used as a Carthaginian trading post and was about 48 kilometers (30 mi) from Shalat (the Roman Sala and modern Chellah). It issued its own bronze coins.
It was occupied by Romans in the first years of Augustus rule. There were a military camp and a nearby little city, until Claudius enlarged Thamusida. According to historian Stefano Camporeale, the auxiliary unit that built the Roman camp in Thamusida was probably the Cohors secunda Syrorum civium Romanorum in the second half of the first century (ceramic evidence confirms this chronology): this camp (with annexed "vicus") was one of the largest camps of the whole province of Mauretania Tingitana and measured about 2 hectares (4.9 acres). Under the Antonines, a temple was built to worship Venus. Later the settlement grew progressively, and by the end of the second century or the early third century, it was surrounded by a wall that included a total area of about 15 hectares.
During the reign of Claudius, strengthened structures multiply in Thamusida. It probably sheltered an active port to which testify the many remains of Amphoras, and became a point of unloading and a Roman supply centre. Under the Flavians, a Roman military garrison remained on the spot. The city gave signs of growth; a temple was raised (the Temple with embossing), as well as thermal baths and dwelling houses including one with a central court. Under Trajan or Hadrian, a new structuring of urban space seemed to take place by conferring to the city an orthogonal urbanism plan with thermal baths and a small temple dedicated to Venus-Astarte. The development and the enrichment of the city conveyed in the continuing enlarging and transformation of the river thermal baths, in the construction of new temples bordering the bank of Sebou river and in new dwellings such as the "House of Pavement" which adopted the plan of the rich residences of Volubilis and Spain. Modest houses, workshops and utility buildings occupied many districts. In addition to its commercial and industrial functions which are behind its development, the town of Thamusida was to play a significant military role. It was populated by veterans and under Marcus Aurelius was built the most imposing fortress of Tingitane so to ensure the protection of the civilian population. Under Commodus or Septimius Severus, an enclosure was built and which reemployed funerary steles and crushed a part of the pavement house, that indicated the fact that the work was dictated by the fear of a close or remote danger. In the 3rd century, the city was always active as showed the extent of the river thermal baths and the density of the ceramic founds is the spot until occurred the final abandonment which took place between 274 and 285, but it was not known if it was due to the departure of the Army or to a posterior cause. Scattered finds and some walls of Thamusida attested of a ephemeral occupation posterior to the date of evacuation.— Mark Ellingham
In the third century, Thamusida become a mostly Christian city with a population of nearly 7,000 inhabitants. The site was abandoned around AD 285, when Diocletian moved the Roman limes of Mauretania Tingitana to the north, near Lixus. There were some inhabitants—according to recent archeological discoveries—in Thamusida for another century after the Roman abandonment. But with the Vandal invasion, the city disappeared around AD 425.
The site was excavated from 1913 by the French, then 1959 to 1962 and since 1998. Many items found in Thamusida are today on display at the Rabat Archaeological Museum. It occupies an area of 6.1 hectares (15 acres). Excavations have unearthed the walls of the docks and baths.
Andrew Ian Wilson (born 29 February 1968) is a British classical archaeologist and Head of School of Archaeology at the University of Oxford. He was director of the Oxford Institute of Archaeology from 2009 to 2011. Wilson's main research interests are the economy of the Roman world, Greek and Roman water supply, and ancient technology.Chellah
The Chellah or Shalla (Berber: Sla or Calla; Arabic: شالة), is a medieval fortified Muslim necropolis located in the metro area of Rabat, Morocco, on the south (left) side of the Bou Regreg estuary. The Phoenicians established a trading emporium at the site. This was later the site of an ancient Roman colony in the province of Mauretania Tingitana.
Salā was the name given to the city founded by the Muslim conquerors of North Africa, which was mostly abandoned during the Almohad era, then rebuilt by the Marinids in the 13th century. The ruins of their medieval fortress are still extant.
The Berber Almohads used the site as a royal burial ground. The Marinids made the site a holy necropolis, or chellah, and built a complex that included mosque, minaret, and royal tombs. The tall minaret of the now-ruined mosque was built of stone and zellige tilework, and still stands.
Contrary to legend, the corsairs of Salé did not actually operate out of Salé (called "Old Salé"), but out of the city that would later become known as Rabat, ("New Salé") on the south (left) bank of the Bou Regreg.Emanuele Papi
Emanuele Papi (30 August 1959) is an Italian classical archaeologist. He is professor of classical archaeology at the University of Siena, and professor or Roman archaeology at the Italian Archaeological School of Athens. His primary research interests are the topography of Ancient Rome, the archaeology of Roman Mediterranean provinces, and the economy and trade of Rome and the Roman Empire.Historic Monuments and Sites of Morocco
The cultural heritage of Morocco (patrimoine national) is protected and promoted in accordance with Law 19-05 (2005) and Law 22-80 (1980), which relate to the nation's Historic Monuments (monuments historiques), Sites (sites), inscriptions, and objects of art and antiquity. The national heritage register, Inventaire National du Patrimoine Culturel, is maintained by the Institut National des Sciences de l'Archéologie et du Patrimoine (INSAP).Iulia Campestris Babba
Iulia Campestris Babba is a Mauretanian city created as Roman colony around 30 BC by emperor Augustus.Iulia Constantia Zilil
Iulia Constantia Zilil (called later Arzeila) was an ancient Roman-Berber city in Dchar Jdid, located 40 km southwest of Tangier and 13 km northeast of Asilah. It was one of the three colonias in Mauretania Tingitana (in northern Morocco) founded by emperor Augustus between 33 and 25 BC for veterans of the battle of Actium.Iulia Valentia Banasa
Iulia Valentia Banasa was a Roman city in northern Morocco. It was one of the three colonias in Mauretania Tingitana founded by emperor Augustus between 33 and 25 BC for veterans of the battle of Actium.Kenitra
Kenitra (Moroccan Arabic: قْنيطره, Qniṭra; Arabic: القنيطرة, al-Qonayṭéra, the little bridge) is a city in northern Morocco, formerly (1932–1956) known as Port Lyautey. It is a port on the Sbu river, has a population in 2014 of 431,282, is one of the three main cities of the Rabat-Sale-Quneitra region and the capital of Kenitra Province. During the Cold War Kenitra's U.S. Naval Air Facility served as a stopping point in North Africa.List of archaeological sites by country
This is a list of notable archaeological sites sorted by country and territories.
For one sorted by continent and time period, see the list of archaeological sites by continent and age.Lixus (ancient city)
Lixus (Canaanite: 𐤋𐤊𐤔 lkš or 𐤌𐤒𐤅𐤌 𐤔𐤌𐤔 mqwm šmš) is the site of an ancient Canaanite city located in Morocco, just north of the modern seaport of Larache on the bank of the Loukkos River. The location was one of the main cities of the Roman province of Mauretania Tingitana.Rabat Archaeological Museum
Rabat Archaeological Museum (French: Musée archéologique de Rabat) is an archaeological museum in Rabat, Morocco. Opened in 1932, it contains the most extensive collection of archaeological artifacts found in the country. The museum holds prehistoric and pre-Islamic collections, including many objects uncovered by archaeologists working in Volubilis, Banasa and Thamusida, which were first put on display in 1930-1932. This includes human remains from the middle Palaeolithic period (probably Neanderthals) to the Neolithic (4000 BC). A further find in 1957 saw the museum expand considerably, after which it became a National Museum and it has housed the National Museum collections since 1986. Pre-Roman and Roman civilisations are well represented in the museum with a number of notable Hellenistic-style bronzes such as the Dog of Volubilis, and the marble 'Ephebe Crowned With Ivy and Head of a Young Berber.René Rebuffat
René Rebuffat is a French historian and archaeologist, specializing in ancient Africa. He has conducted archaeological excavations at Thamusida in Morocco, Bu-Njem Gholaia in Libya, and in the Sebou basin in Morocco. He also worked on archaeological sites of Aléria and Jublains.Roman roads in Morocco
Roman roads in Morocco were the western roads of Roman Africa.Sijilmasa
Sijilmasa (Arabic: سجلماسة; also transliterated Sijilmassa, Sidjilmasa, Sidjilmassa and Sigilmassa) was a medieval Moroccan city and trade entrepôt at the northern edge of the Sahara in Morocco. The ruins of the town extend for five miles along the River Ziz in the Tafilalt oasis near the town of Rissani. The town's history was marked by several successive invasions by Berber dynasties. Up until the 14th century, as the northern terminus for the western trans-Sahara trade route, it was one of the most important trade centres in the Maghreb during the Middle Ages.Tagmadert
Tagmadert (also Tagumadert, Tagmad(d)art, Tigumedet) is a city in the Draa River valley in Morocco. It is the place of origin of the members of the Saadi Dynasty. Despite the fact that Tagmadert is indicated on most older European maps, there is some uncertainty about its exact location. According to Charles de Foucauld its location was identical to present-day Fezouata, the district directly north of the Ktawa, including the village of Tamegroute. There is a description of Tagmadert by the 17th century traveller Marmol. The name seems to have referred to both a district and a town.
The town Tagmadert was founded in 1550 by Mohammed ash-Sheikh. It was probably destroyed during the reign of Moulay Slimane (1792–1822), possibly like Sijilmassa in 1818 by Aït Atta Berber tribes. The present village of Amezrou may have been built on its ruins. A sequia (irrigation canal) called Tagmadert still exists today in that place. Unfortunately there are no archeological records or Arabic or Berber language sources from which to deduce unequivocal conclusions about its location.
The Saadi were Shurafa of Tagmadert. The first Sultan of that dynasty Mohammed ash-Sheikh was called "al Drawi at-Tagmadert". Some of the members of the Saadi Dynasty have proudly inscribed Tagmadert as their place of birth on their tombstone.Tamdoult
Tamdult (also Tamedoult, Tamdlt; Arabic: تامدولت ) was a medieval city located near the Draa river south-east of Akka, Morocco. It was an important and flourishing stop in the Trans-Saharan trade route, linking Nul (Asrir) and Ouadane to Sijilmasa, Massa and N'fis. The city was founded in the second century BC by the Berbers. In the ninth century one the sons of Idriss II, founder of the Idrisid dynasty, who had been given a principality in the Sous to reign over the Lamta tribe.The city and its fortress were allegedly destroyed in the 14th century by a king of the Marinid dynasty. Today, the shrine of Sidi Mohamed ben Abdallah Ichanaoui is the only surviving structure in the ruins site.Tamuda
Tamuda was an ancient Roman city and military camp in Mauretania Tingitana. It is located 6km (4 miles) west of the present-day Tetouan in northern Morocco. Stone ruins from the site are found by the south bank of the Martil Valley. It was considered a city in accordance with the rules of urbanization of the time.Tingi
Tingis (Latin; Greek: Τιγγίς, Tingís) or Tingi (Ancient Berber: ⵜⵉⵏⴳⵉ), the ancient name of Tangier in Morocco, was an important Carthaginian, Mauretanian, and Roman port on the Atlantic Ocean. It was eventually granted the status of a Roman colony and made the capital of the province of Mauretania Tingitana and, after Diocletian's reforms, the diocese of Hispania.Volubilis
Volubilis (Berber languages: Walili, Arabic: وليلي) is a partly excavated Berber city in Morocco situated near the city of Meknes, and commonly considered as the ancient capital of the kingdom of Mauretania. Built in a fertile agricultural area, it developed from the 3rd century BC onward as a Berber, then proto-Carthaginian, settlement before being the capital of the kingdom of Mauretania. It grew rapidly under Roman rule from the 1st century AD onward and expanded to cover about 42 hectares (100 acres) with a 2.6 km (1.6 mi) circuit of walls. The city gained a number of major public buildings in the 2nd century, including a basilica, temple and triumphal arch. Its prosperity, which was derived principally from olive growing, prompted the construction of many fine town-houses with large mosaic floors.
The city fell to local tribes around 285 and was never retaken by Rome because of its remoteness and indefensibility on the south-western border of the Roman Empire. It continued to be inhabited for at least another 700 years, first as a Latinised Christian community, then as an early Islamic settlement. In the late 8th century it became the seat of Idris ibn Abdallah, the founder of the Idrisid dynasty and the state of Morocco. By the 11th century Volubilis had been abandoned after the seat of power was relocated to Fes. Much of the local population was transferred to the new town of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, about 5 km (3.1 mi) from Volubilis.
The ruins remained substantially intact until they were devastated by an earthquake in the mid-18th century and subsequently looted by Moroccan rulers seeking stone for building Meknes. It was not until the latter part of the 19th century that the site was definitively identified as that of the ancient city of Volubilis. During and after the period of French rule over Morocco, about half of the site was excavated, revealing many fine mosaics, and some of the more prominent public buildings and high-status houses were restored or reconstructed. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed for being "an exceptionally well preserved example of a large Roman colonial town on the fringes of the Empire".
Romano-Berber cities in Roman North Africa
Sorted by contemporary national borders
1 UNESCO World Heritage Sites 2 Proposed
Former cities in Morocco