Lixus

Lixus is an ancient Roman-Berber-Punic city on the western coast of Morocco, just north of Larache. It lies on a hill with spectacular views over the Loukkos Estuary (Lucus River) and is one of the first western Mediterranean cities. Lixus was first settled by the Phoenicians during the 8th century BC and gradually grew in importance as a trading post (in gold, ivory and slaves), later coming under Carthaginian domination.

After the destruction of Carthage, the city fell to Roman control and reached its zenith during the reign of the emperor Claudius (AD 41–54) and began exporting the fish-based garum sauce. The salt-fishing factory consisted of closely-spaced complexes with a salting capacity of over one million litres, making it the largest garum producer in the western Mediterranean. In the 3rd century AD, Lixus became nearly fully Christian. The site was abandoned in the 7th century AD and later became known to Muslims as Tuchummus when a mosque was erected.

Floors decorated in mosaics, an amphitheatre, garum-making facilities, baths, and a Paleochristian church are reminders of the splendour and prosperity of Lixus. The excavated zones (62 hectares) constitute approximately 20% of the total surface of the site.

Coordinates: 35°12’00.0″N 6°06’40.0″W

PORTFOLIO

Complex 1 of the fish-salting factory, with 23 extant vats (cetariae) that functioned from AD 40/60 to early 6th.
Extant are at least 142 square and rectangular vats with a combined capacity of 1,013 cubic metres. They are located at the foot of the southern slope of the hill below the Acropolis.
Fishing vats varied in size and depth and were built of bricks and/or rubble construction, which were faced with a sealing mortar mixture of lime, forming opus signinum.
Complex 10 of the fish-salting factory, with four extant vats (cetariae) and two arched cistern chambers.
Two arched cistern chambers.
The fish factory also had two buried cisterns.
Roman bath complex.
Roman bath complex.
Small amphitheatre with a semi-circular cavea (seating section), designed to house theatrical plays and gladiatorial combats.
A theatre was built in the 1st century AD and later converted into an arena. Its stage building was then dismantled.
The cavea leans against a natural slope. Up to 7 rows of seats have been preserved.
A row of seats with letters to identify the seats.
The amphitheatre with the bath complex built against it.

The upper town.
Roman houses.
The Palace of Juba II.
The Palace of Juba II and temples.
An apotropaic phallus as a symbol to avert the evil eye.
The ruins of a Paleochristian church.
Roman houses.
The ruins of a mosque.
Venus and Adonis. This mosaic decorated the floor of a villa that once housed the wealthiest citizens of Lixus.

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Temple of Antas

The Temple of Antas is an ancient Punico-Roman temple in the commune of Fluminimaggiore in southern Sardinia. After lying abandoned for centuries, the temple was discovered in 1838 and extensively restored in 1967. The present visible structure dates to the 3rd century AD on a floor plan from the Augustan age. Nestled in the middle of the Iglesiente mountains, the ruins of the temple offer visitors a truly majestic sight.

Coordinates: 39° 23′ 38.4″ N, 8° 30′ 0.72″ E

The area, rich in silver, lead and iron, was originally a Nuragic necropolis in use in the early Iron Age (9th-8th century BC) and was identified probably as a sanctuary. The god worshipped here was Babai, the main male divinity of the Nuragic civilisation. Attracted by its metal deposits, the Carthaginians colonised the area at the end of the 5th century BC. They built a temple in honour of the Punic deity Sid Addir, the god of warriors and hunters, who personified the indigenous god worshipped in the nearby Nuragic sanctuary. Its construction was divided into two phases: the more archaic dates back to 500 BC when the place of worship was made up of just a simple rectangular cella (sacred enclosure) where a rock served as a sacred altar. Later in approximately 300 BC, a series of transformations began. The area has produced numerous fragments of Punic sculptures and a large number of dedicatory inscriptions. Some remains of the Punic temple can be seen in front of the temple, which were covered in Roman times by a broad staircase.

The Roman temple was built on the site of its Punic predecessor, and the Romans, in turn, identified the Punic deity as Sardus Pater. Both Sallust and Pausanias record that Sardus was the son of Hercules, who migrated out of the land of Libya to settle on the island of Sardinia, which he called after himself. Under the Roman emperors, the cult of Sardus was encouraged because, in Rome, there was a temple dedicated to Hercules on the Forum Boarium, which made a strong connection between Sardus and Rome.

The temple was built on a podium accessible by a broad flight of steps on the front side consisting of various levels. On the fourth level stood the altar, where sacrifices were made according to Roman rituals. The podium was 20 m long and was divided into three parts; the pronaos, cella and adyton. The pronaos had four Ionic columns (tetrastyle) upholding the main beam that contained a Latin inscription: Imp(eratori) [Caes(ari) M.] Aurelio Antonino. Aug(usto) P(io) F(elici) temp[(lum) d]ei [Sa]rdi Patris Bab[i/vetustate c]on[lapsum] (?) [—] A[—] restitue[ndum] cur[avit] Q (?) Co[el]lius (or Co[cce]ius) Proculus

The inscription reveals that the temple was restored under the emperor Caracalla and dedicated to the god Sardus Pater Babi, the forefather of the Sards, by a man called Proculus. This dates the restoration phase to around 215 AD, but the Roman version of the temple could have been built as early as 27 BC under Augustus.

At approximately 1 km from the temple are the Roman quarries from which limestone boulders were extracted and used for the sanctuary’s construction. The work was carried out with a hammer and chisel, while the transport was probably made by carts pulled by oxen. The line cuts followed to extract the limestone blocks are still visible.

PORTFOLIO

In front of the temple are the excavated structures belonging to the Punic phase of the temple.
In front of the temple are the excavated structures belonging to the Punic phase of the temple.
The columns of the pronaos had a height of approximately 8 meters and were built of local limestone with attic bases. They were surmounted by Ionic capitals.
The columns of the pronaos had a height of approximately 8 meters and were built of local limestone with attic bases. They were surmounted by Ionic capitals.

The Latin inscription in honor of Caracalla.
The Latin inscription in honour of Caracalla.

The cella, the central hall of the temple, had large pillars leaning against the perimeter walls supported by roof beams. Its floor was covered with a black and white mosaic of which only part has survived.
The cella, the central hall of the temple, had large pillars leaning against the perimeter walls supported by roof beams. Its floor was covered with a black and white mosaic of which only part survived.
At the back of the temple was the adyton. It was divided into two rooms, each with their own entrance and in front of their doorway two square water basins on the floor which contained holy water for purification ceremonies (ablution).
At the back of the temple was the adyton. It was divided into two rooms, each with its own entrance, and in front of their doorway were two square water basins on the floor containing holy water for purification ceremonies (ablution).

Roman quarry near the Temple of Antas.
Roman quarry near the Temple of Antas.

The temple’s isolated position in a fertile valley makes it an enchanted place to visit and offers visitors incredible natural scenery. It is one of the island’s most impressive and exciting archaeological remains.

Opening times:
– from July to September, every day from 9.30 to 19.30
– from April to May and October from 9.30 to 17.30
– June from 9.30 to 18.30
– from November to March from 9.30 to 16.30 except Monday

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