What to know

Ancient City of Neapolis Found Off The Coast of Tunisia

Recently discovered off the coast of Tunisia, Neapolis was hit by a tsunami and sunk into the sea after Carthage fell into Roman control

After years of searching, archaeologists have found the 1,700 year old ancient Roman city of Neapolis off the coast of Tunisia.

According to records by Ammien Marcellin, a Roman soldier and historian, the city of Neapolis is believed to have been hit by a tsunami in the 4th century AD and sunk into the sea. The same tsunami is believed to have cause great damage to ancient Alexandria and the Greek island Crete.

Since 2010, a joint Tunisian-Italian archaeological mission has been scouting the seafloor for evidence of the city. Recent weather conditions made it easier for divers to find the ruins of Neapolis.

Across 20 hectares, the team found streets and monuments, as well as 100 tanks used to garum, a Roman delicacy condiment made from fermented fish, according to AFP.

“This discovery has allowed us to establish with certainty that Neapolis was a major centre for the manufacture of garum and salt fish, probably the largest centre in the Roman world,” mission leader Mounir Fantar told AFP.

Since the people of Neapolis sided with Carthage rather than Rome during the Third Punic War in (149 to 146 BC), the Romans destroyed most of its culture and history when if fell under their control. For this reason, we still don’t know much about their rich civilization to this day.

What we know about Neapolis comes from few references in Roman literature, most of which believing that it was punished for its allegiance to Carthage.

Carthage, which was founded by the Phoenicians in the 9th Century BC, grew to become a powerful trading center for centuries. After three Punic Wars with the Roman Empire, Carthage eventually fell into Roman control in the 2nd century AD, with a new Roman Carthage built on top of the old city’s ruins.

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