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TAPARURA (Sfax) Tunisia.

The ancient city is completely covered over today by a huge extension of the town of Sfax. The only vestiges which were recognized and excavated in 1886 were at the foot of the Casbah, outside the ramparts—a basilica with a mosaic baptistery established in the middle of a ruinous necropolis. Other chance discoveries have been made as the modern town extended. In two campaigns in 1907 and 1937, in the sector of St-Henri, situated 5 km to the NE of the town and near the shore, a number of tombs—some with mosaics, others with amphorae and tiles—with late furnishings have been revealed.

The most important discoveries were made outside and to the N of the town on the Mazghani mounds along the coast. Between 1886 and 1899 a baptistery was excavated. Six mosaic niches adjoin a basilica surrounded by a Christian necropolis. In 1916 another basilica was discovered in the same district; the walls had disappeared, but a mosaic pavement remained and some epitaphs. In the neighborhood a vast necropolis was excavated in 1918-19.

In the immediate environs to the W of the town a large dwelling, the House of the Poet, built on a small eminence was excavated in 1953 and 1957. Its walls were faced with marble or frescoed and the floor was paved with mosaics, some geometric, but some remarkable for their composition and decoration. One is composed of eight medallions containing muses surrounding a central medallion in which is represented a poet—identified by some as Ennius—with the muse Clio; the angles of the composition were occupied by figures of the seasons. The pavements of another room contained, inserted in the geometric decoration, an octagonal emblema showing an inebriated Herakles.

The most interesting discovery, made several meters from this house in 1957, was a triclinium paved with a large mosaic. In one part a geometric horseshoe frames a tableau representing nereids, cupids, and marine animals, with the corners occupied by heads of Oceanus. This tableau has been set up at the Bardo Museum in Tunis.


Thirion in MélRome 67 (1955) 149-79)PI; M. Fendri, Découvertes archéologiques dans la région de Sfax (1963)PI.


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