Tunisia Live (Tunis)

14 February 2012

Tunisia: Discovery of a Roman Cemetery in Djerba

A chance discovery of around 100 Roman graves was made recently near el Kantra - located in the island of Djerba's southern region.

Employees working for the STEG (the Tunisian Society of Electricity and Gas) as well as employees from the Ministry of Equipment and Housing uncovered the graves while they were carrying out work in the region.

An employee from the STEG, who was present when the discovery was made, confirmed that while the staff was digging to repair a gas pipeline they discovered fragments of marble, pottery, clothes, coins, and human bones. The employees did not recognize that the area was a cemetery until they invited archaeologists to investigate the site.

Youssef el Cherif, a Tunisian archaeologist, confirmed that the graves discovered in "el Kantra" appeared to be connected to the archaeological site of Meninx.

Originally a manufacturing center established by Phoenicians as early as the 10th Century BC, Meninx developed into an important and prosperous economic city under the Romans thanks to its strategic position at the geographical crossroads of ancient trade routes. At its peak Meninx was the capital of the island and boasted thermal baths, an amphitheater, a theater, a basilica and possibly a forum.

A team of archaeologists will begin a more detailed investigation of the new discovery in the coming days.

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