9 April 2013

Punic-Libyan Mausoleum at Dougga / Thugga

 The photograph below is of a Punic/Libyan mausoleum dating from 2nd Century BC.  This mausoleum is located within walking distance of the archaeological site of Dougga / Thugga hence the reason why I have put this blog post under the same label heading.  
Punic-Libyan Mausoleum

This mausoleum is one of the very rare examples of royal Numidian architecture. There is another in Sabratha in Libya. Some authors believe that there is a link with the funeral architecture in Anatolia and the necropolises in Alexandria from the 3rd and 2nd century BC.
This tomb is 21 metres tall and was built in the 2nd century BC. An inscription that has been preserved from the tomb had been understood as an indication that the tomb was dedicated to Atban, the son of Iepmatath and Palu.  It has only recently been established that the inscription was originally located on one side of a fake window on the podium. According to the most recent research, the names cited in the inscription are only those of its architect and of representatives of the different professions involved in its construction. The monument was built by the inhabitants of the city for a Numidian prince; some authors believe that it was intended for Massinissa.
Another bilingual Libyan and Punic inscription which is now held at the British Museum made it possible to decode the Libyan characters. The monument owes its current appearance to the work of French archaeologist Louis Poinssot, who essentially reconstructed it from pieces that were left lying on the ground.
The tomb is accessed via a pedestal with five steps. On the northern side of the podium (the lowest of three levels in the monument), there is an opening to the funeral chamber that is closed with a stone slab. The other sides are decorated with fake windows and four Aeolic pilasters. The second level is made up of a temple-like colonnade (naiskos); the columns on each side are Ionic. The third level is the most richly decorated of all: in addition to pilasters similar to those on the lowest level, it is capped with a pyramid. Some elements of carved stone have also survived.

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