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SIGA Algeria.

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.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

P. Grimal, in MélRome 55 (1937) 108-41; G. Vuillemot, Reconnaissances aux échelles puniques d'Oranie (1965); in CRAI (1964) 71-95; in Antiquités africaines 5 (1971) 39-86.

P.-A. FÉVRIER

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