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Urban transformation in the Central Medjerda Valley (north-west Tunisia) in late antiquity and the middle ages: A regional approach


Libyan Studies, 1-19. doi:10.1017/lis.2022.17


Recent scholarship on North African cities has done much to dispel earlier assumptions about late antique collapse and demonstrate significant continuity into the Byzantine and medieval periods. Yet urban changes did not affect North Africa evenly. Far less is known about the differing regional trajectories that shaped urban transformation and the extent to which pre-Roman and Roman micro-regions continued to share meaningful characteristics in subsequent periods. This article provides a preliminary exploration of regional change from the fourth to the eleventh century focused on a zone in the Central Medjerda Valley (Tunisia) containing the well-known sites of Bulla Regia and Chimtou. We place these towns in their wider historical and geographical setting and interrogate urban change by looking at investment in public buildings and spaces, religious buildings and housing, and ceramic networks. The process of comparison identifies new commonalities (and differences) between the sites of this stretch of the Medjerda River and provides a framework for understanding the many transformations of North African cities over the long late antiquity

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