Some remains of buildings can
be seen on a hill with a flat top in the lower valley of
the Tafna at a bend of the river. A milestone found
nearby names the site.
Siga was the capital of the kingdom of Syphax, mentioned during the 4th c. in the Periplus. Thus, an ancient native center was located there, but it has not been excavated. A part of a necropolis on the plain has produced material of the 1st to 3d c. A.D. Under this the
excavator recognized an older settlement dating to the
time of the Mauretanian kingdom.
The so-called Beni Rhenane mausoleum facing the
town on a height on the right bank of the river has been
excavated. The plan of the building was in the shape
of a triangle with concave sides. The masonry is of ashlar
construction. It was found standing several meters high,
and was adorned with half-columns and Ionic capitals.
The funerary chambers, at a lower level than the masonry block, are vaulted rooms connected by narrow
corridors. This complicated architecture must be related
both to tombs of native tradition and to the decoration
of Punico-Hellenistic tradition, and is also seen at Sabratha.
There is a rocky island at the mouth of the Tafna,
and on its S peak a settlement has been noted and a
necropolis excavated on the N plain. The artifacts accompanying the burials date the oldest tombs to between the second half of the 7th and the 6th c. B.C. The oldest finds recovered from the settlement site confirm
this date, in particular pieces of 7th c. Attic amphorae.
This site is related to other settlements along the Oran
coast: Mersa Madakh, Les Andalouses, and also the
neighboring site of Siga. As at Tipasa, one can see the
emergence of a native settlement open to commerce, first
with the Greek and then with the Carthaginian world.
P. Grimal, in MélRome
55 (1937) 108-41; G. Vuillemot, Reconnaissances aux échelles puniques
(1965); in CRAI
(1964) 71-95; in Antiquités
5 (1971) 39-86.