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UTHINA (Oudna) Tunisia.

On the route from Tunis to Pont-du-Fahs, 25 km SW of Tunis, an extensive site, rises on the first slopes of Mt. Mekrima, which shuts off the plain of Mornay to the S. Still little explored, the only excavations were undertaken more than half a century ago. A large aristocratic area was excavated N of the town on the flank of the hill; 20 houses were partially or fully uncovered. Numerous pieces of sculpture, figural and architectural, as well as other objects were found, but it is the great number and the quality of the mosaics—67 of them are decorated with figures—which have made the site famous. They are for the most part preserved at the Bardo Museum in Tunis.

The largest and most luxurious of these houses is that of the Laberii, which, aside from the principal building, comprised numerous outbuildings: cisterns, reservoirs, shops, and private baths. Built against the side of the hill, the peristyle of the house was surrounded by rooms and apartments, some reception rooms having their own small colonnaded peristyle. All these rooms, porticos, and the atrium were paved with rich and beautiful mosaics. The one of rural life, and the one of Dionysos making the gift of the vine to Ikarios are preserved at the Bardo. Following a landslide, one of the sides of the house was rebuilt and a new pavement superimposed on the earlier one. Later, when the house was abandoned, a potter's workshop was set up in the private baths; numerous lamps and plates of red clay were found.

The large public baths were partially excavated in 1947; conceived according to an axial and symmetrical plan, the facades embellished with apses and exedras, the edifice consisted of three levels. The excavation of certain vaulted halls has furnished inscriptions and especially 13 pieces of sculpture, which have been transported to the Bardo.

Although of consequence and often identified, many other buildings still remain poorly known in spite of having been excavated; for example, under the acropolis—considered by some as the citadel—are constructed two huge halls in a magnificent style. Seven large symmetrical and parallel cisterns are fed by an aqueduct. There is a theater and, a little outside the town, an amphitheater.


Gauckler in MonPiot 2 (1896) 177-229PI; P. Quoniam in MélRome 60 (1948) 35-54I.


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