Morocco Archeology Overview

Morocco Archeology Overview

Prehistory. – The region has been inhabited since the most remote prehistoric times and recent excavations have broadened the framework of our knowledge. In the Sidi Abd ar-Raḥmān quarry, 20 km. in S. of Casablanca, a Clactonian-Abbevillian industry is associated in the solidified dune with remains of contemporary fauna.

The different periods of the lower Paleolithic are found throughout Morocco up to the Sahara in relation to that of Spain, while in the upper Paleolithic there are correspondences with the other regions of Northern Africa. The Atlas range, although already traveled in ancient times, seems to have formed a screen on the sides of which the prehistoric Moroccan civilizations have maintained a certain individuality. Man lived in caves, many of which have been explored: near Berkane, in Taza, near Meknès in ‛Ain Lorma, near Rabat in Dar es-Soltane. The discovery of the fossil man of Rabat links the man of this era to the Neanderthal group. In the Neolithic period all of Morocco seems to have been inhabited.

Mauric period. – The first centuries of the history of Morocco are known only through the texts, since nothing exists of the Phoenician and Carthaginian settlements. Except for the coins, there is so far no archaeological document from the period of Bocco, Bogud, Juba II, Ptolemy. For Morocco 2014, please check

Roman times. – the best known; the main excavations are those of Volubili, Banasa, Thamusida, Tocolosida in the French territory, Lixus and Tamuda in the Spanish one. In Volubili the last district of the city revealed was certainly inhabited by the municipal aristocracy. The houses are vast, on the sides of large streets, often preceded by arcades, with a traditional Roman plan. On the street there are shops flanking the entrance, which generally has two doors, one wider and one narrower. The floors are of beaten earth, earthenware, and also geometric mosaics or mythological subjects. The most important finding is represented by two bronze busts, one of Cato the Younger, an excellent portrait of the Flavian age, the other of a diademate character of the Hellenistic period, it seems to workshop of the head from the gymnasium of Delos (mid 2nd century BC). Banasa (Julia Valentia), in the plain N. sul Sebou, has the appearance of the Roman colonies: checkered streets around the central square. There are fewer beautiful houses than in Volubili; it seems that the settlers resided mainly in their lands. However, the city had rich spas and a macellum. Less rich in works of art than Volubili, Banasa has however returned the most important documents: four military diplomas, three tables of patronage, two letters from Caracalla, one of which grants a remittance of taxes.

Thamusida, at the mouth of the Sebou, was an important city but of strictly indigenous origin. Fortified like the previous ones, it was, moreover, an agricultural market rather than a large commercial center.

Sala (near Rabat) and Lixus (facing Larache) were with Tangier the two great ports of Mauretania Tingitana. A large inscription was discovered in Sala which attests to its Latinization.

Necropolises with interesting inscriptions, especially that of a duumviro, and many Christian ones have been excavated in Tangier. A statue of the type of so-called Modesty with a realistic portrait of the second century has also come to light. d. C.

In the Spanish area, a complete port installation was excavated at Lixus with warehouses, docks, silos and (in 1948) a beautiful mosaic with Mars and Venus. In Tamuda, 6 km. to the west of Tetuán the Roman city succeeds an Arab village and has buttresses, cisterns, oil mills, mills and generally modest dwellings.

Roman Morocco prospered up to Gallienus (253-268), when the barbarians of the Rife of the Atlas seem to have occupied the entire eastern part, while Roman dominion was reduced to the Ceuta-Volubili-Sala triangle. There is no evidence of Vandal raids. The Byzantines limited themselves to occupying Ceuta and Tangier, but their influence was felt inside. Christianity and the use of Latin persisted until the Arab invasion, as evidenced by four late inscriptions by Volubili.

Morocco Archeology Overview