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Bulla Regia is a significant archaeological site in the northwestern part of Tunisia. The region became part of the Roman Empire in the first century A.D., and prospered by providing agricultural products such as wheat, grains, grapes, and olives to the rest of the Empire. The public and private architecture and ornate decoration of the province’s cities, including Bulla Regia, reflect this prosperity.
Bulla Regia is unique among the numerous archaeological sites in Tunisia because its domestic architecture was constructed below ground. Scholars have hypothesized that the houses were built in this manner in order to alleviate the intense heat. Most of the ornate mosaics adorning the houses have remained in situ, and visitors can view the elaborate polychrome mosaics in their original context.
HOW WE HELPED
WMF began working at Bulla Regia in 2009 in collaboration with local authorities and international preservation professionals. Early work at the site included a conditions survey to identify areas most in need of urgent intervention. The House of the Hunt, one of the underground houses with a peristyle courtyard surrounded by rooms decorated with mosaics, was in urgent need of stabilization. The team strapped the unstable lintel and fissured columns with carbon fibers and injected resin into the architrave to alleviate pressure and cracking. WMF’s project has expanded to other structures at Bulla Regia, including the cleaning and restoration of the Temple of Isis and the installation of temporary protective covers that prevent further water damage. Work is continuing and plans are underway to undertake more mapping of the site in preparation for workshops on site management and site interpretation.
WHY IT MATTERS
Bulla Regia provides a unique opportunity to see Roman houses and their sophisticated decorative mosaics in situ. Continued site conservation work, increased training opportunities at the site, and the completion of a site management plan will help establish improved guidelines for how best to conserve, manage, and present archaeological sites in Tunisia.
World Monuments Fund: 2010 Priority Projects
An overview of several projects which represent our priorities in 2010 and reflect the varied approaches we take to our five core program areas: Advocacy, Education & Training, Cultural Legacy, Capacity Building and Disaster Recovery. Narrated by WMF's Lisa Ackerman, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.