DOUGGA (Fig 17)
Although said by all the guidebooks to be the largest, most spectacular and most dramatic site in Tunisia, there is disappointingly little cipollino in Dougga. The Roman town of Dougga is built on the site of the ancient Thugga, which became the seat of the Numidian king, Massinissa in the 2nd century BC. Dougga became part of the Roman Empire in the second century AD. Situated in the north western part of the country it is a good 30-40 kms from the coast and about 60 kms from the Algerian border. The route passes the mountains of Zaghouan in the distance, whence came the water carried in the aqueduct to Hadrian’s cisterns.
The site is unusual for Roman cities as it is built on a hillside whereas the Romans generally preferred flat terrain. Besides having widely scattered archaeological remains of temples, theatre, baths, houses, market, it is primarily known for its imposing Capitol built on the top of the hill, looking over the town and the valley below (Plate 6.12). The site was inhabited by local people until 1959 when they were all rehoused and the site cleared. Dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, the Capitol is built of local limestone, with the maquillage of lime to look like marble. Presumably this is a case when the local stone was used because it was readily available and less expensive than imported marble. Strangely, however, set into the side of one of the walls leading up to the Capitol building there are two very small fragments of cipollino, one measuring .52 m. wide and .07m. in height, the other .47 m. wide and .05 in height (Plate 6.13).
South of the Capitol and the Forum and below the cisterns, are the baths, built of stone, brick and limestone. Here there are three other fragments of cipollino let into the wall just below the entrance to the Frigidarium. They measure from between .05 to .10 m. in width and .05 m. in height (Plate 6.14).
Maps and Plates
Fig 17 Plan of Dougga
Plate 6.12 The Capitol, made of local limestone, Dougga.
Plate 6.13 Two fragments of cipollino in the wall leading up to the Capitol, Dougga.
Plate 6.14 Three small fragments of cipollino in the wall leading to The Frigidarium, Dougga.