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15 years of Spanish-Tunisian excavation uncovers oldest Phoenician colony

Tunis, Sep 2 (EFE).- Spanish and Tunisian archeologists in Tunis presented Friday the highlights of a joint project over the past 15 years, including the “rediscovery” of Utica, an ancient Phonoecian colony.

“Thanks to these cooperation projects we have located the oldest phase of Phoenician colonization (10th century B.C. and 9th century B.C.), forming part of colonial settlements that also reached the Iberian Peninsula,” Spanish professor Jose Luis Lopez Castro told Efe.

During a special colloquium at the Cervantes Institute in the Tunisian capital, researchers reviewed the most important archaeological projects that began over a decade ago at the site of Altiburus (now El Kef), introduced by Samira Sehili, of the National Institute of Heritage of Tunisia.

The University of Barcelona participated in that first dig, whose main objective was to salvage the origins of the Numidian society, closely related to ancient Carthage, whose creation they managed to date.

From Greco-Latin sources, the researchers detected “in situ” a fully sedentary village society of the ninth century BC, which from the eighth century BC, practiced iron metallurgy, presumably during the first contacts with the Phoenician world.

The excavations will continue in the “Phoenician and Punic Utica”, considered the most emblematic project that began in 2010, which have yielded the remains of two superimposed temples (from the 7th century BC and 4th century BC), in addition to an industrial area of the city, which evolved from the 6th century BC into a purely urban area. EFE


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