Overview of two seasons in the Roman and Neo-Punic settlement of Zita (Zyan), southern Tunisia

Author(s): Hans Barnard; Ali Drine; Brett Kaufman

Year: 2015


After Carthage was destroyed by Scipio Africanus Minor (Aemilianus) in 146 BCE, the Punic settlements that it controlled were occupied by the Romans. Exporting wine, olive oil, garum (a sauce made of the fermented intestines of small fish), and purple dye (of Bolinus brandaris and Hexaplex trunculus shell-fish), the eastern Maghreb continued to flourish. Many of the ancient monuments in modern Tunisia date to the centuries following the Roman conquest, until the center of power shifted to the Tripolitanian Region, in modern Libya, during the second half of the second century CE. The city of Zita (Zyan), near Zarzis, may have been founded during the former period or have been built on a more ancient settlement. After its abandonment by the fourth century CE, the surrounding olive orchards encroached on the site and regular plowing has obscured most of the ancient remains. During two excavation campaigns we performed a detailed surface survey and excavated part of the Roman capitol and forum (previously published in 1886), as well as the tophet (a Punic child sacrifice or burial precinct). In August 2014 we also excavated an area where large amounts of debris of industrial metal working were deposited in previously abandoned structures.

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Cite this Record

Overview of two seasons in the Roman and Neo-Punic settlement of Zita (Zyan), southern Tunisia. Hans Barnard, Brett Kaufman, Ali Drine. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397514)

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Neo-Punic Roman Tunisia

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;