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West of Constantine the Rhummel flows in a rather wide depression between the chain of the Chettaba to the N (where various castella belonging to the colony of Cirta were located: Castellum Elephantum, Castellum Mastarense, Castellum Phuensium) and a rough area to the S (where the river must cut a narrow bed in order to reach the sea). The ruins of the center of Tiddis are located just where the Rhummel pierces the mountain of the Kheneg, about 15 km from Constantine as the crow flies. It is the Castellum Tidditanorum known from an inscription of the time of Alexander Severus.

The site has been partially excavated. Set upon the S slopes of the mountain on an upper plateau, it was a relatively strong site, easy to defend. It had at its command a fertile plain to the N and a zone of hills, whose rich soil today produces wheat.

Excavating the site was difficult. The best cleared part of the ancient town is attached to the slopes of the Kheneg. Since the slopes are steep, the streets had to wind their way up to the summit. In the steepest places these sloping ramps were replaced by stairs. Everywhere too, one had to cut back into the rock and build out with terraces in order to construct houses, and cellars were cut out of the rock. As no springs were available, cisterns, public and private, were installed throughout the built-up area in order to collect rainwater. In all of these details, Tiddis is somewhat different from other ancient sites excavated in Algeria. In seeking comparable constructions in order to visualize the town's original appearance, one turns to the Berber villages of Kabylia, with their irregular streets and houses set in tiers along the slopes.

The necropolis located outside the village is of interest in revealing the origins of Tiddis. The oldest tombs are circular bazinas, in the middle of which one or two coffers were placed and set off by slabs. The handmade pottery found in these tombs was sometimes decorated with painted motifs. This pottery and these methods of burial suggest that Tiddis was at first a native center which, because of the proximity of Cirta, very early entered into contact with wider currents of commerce. Rhodian amphoras of the 2d c., Campanian ware, inscriptions with Punic lettering of the 1st c. B.C., and finally Italic Arretine ware, all testify to the life of the center before Rome's conquest of the region and just after the foundation of the kingdom of Sittius.

The native town became Romanized just like the other towns near Cirta. Today one can cross it by following the main street as it goes from a monumental portal up between the houses, passing by the forum, a small square, and the curia. From inscriptions one knows the magistrates and decurions of the castellum. It belonged to the colony of Cirta and, with the other colonies of Rusicade, Milev, and Chullu, formed part of the confederation of the IV colonies.

Also among the public monuments cleared thus far are the public baths and cisterns (built by M. Cocceius Anicius Faustus in the middle of the 3d c. A.D.) and on top of the crag a Temple of Saturn (which produced a great number of stelae now in the Constantine Museum). On the slopes of the cliff one can see many houses and the remains of the original rampart of the castellum.

The Lollii were one of the important families of the town. Their circular mausoleum can still be seen some kilometers to the N. The monument was erected by Lollius Urbicus, prefect of the city of Rome under Antoninus Pius.

At the end of the 5th c. the town is known to have been the seat of a bishopric. Two Christian basilicas have been cleared. One was located at the entrance of the town; the other was in a more distant district and has been only partially cleared. Excavations have led to the discovery of a very large quantity of mediaeval pottery, in particular a ware which is also found at the Kalaa des Beni Hammad in the 10th and 11th c.

In the Constantine Museum one finds what pottery from Tiddis has been kept (in particular the wares from the necropolis), many artifacts from daily life (in particular pottery from potters' kilns and workshops), and tools used by the potters, as well as inscriptions and stelae dedicated to Saturn.


A. Berthier, Tiddis, antique castellum Tidditanorum (1951) and reedited with bibl.; J. Lassus in Libyca 4 (1956) 176-80; 6 (1958) 251-64; 7 (1959) 294-301; H. G. Pflaum, Inscriptions latines d'Algérie II, 1 (1957) nos. 3563-4175; P. A. Lally, in Recueil des notices et mémoires de la société archéologique de la willaya de Constantine 71 (1969-1971) 91-121; P-A. Février, in Bulletin d'archéologie algérienne 4 (1970) 41-100.


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