Fragment from the Forum Portico

The large open space immediately to the northwest of the forum basilica appears to be the location of the forum square. It is difficult to be precise about its exact size and location because there are no visible in situ remains. Further, the spoil heaps from Ben Omrane’s excavations cover a considerable portion of this area and this makes the magnetometry survey somewhat less clear than elsewhere. The data from the magnetometry and topographical surveys suggest that the forum measures roughly 36 (N/S) x 70 (E/W) m. Columns of a purplish-red limestone with thick white veining probably lined the forum square. Sixteen of these column shafts remain, spread over a 50 m distance in the forum area. The diameter of the column shafts generates a column height of c. 23 RF. Unfortunately, neither capitals nor bases survive from these columns. The remaining architectural fragments and the magnetometry both indicate that a more elaborate portico linked the basilica to the open forum square. Since only the column shafts survive from the columnar order and no excavations were conducted in this area, we cannot offer a firm date for the erection of the forum portico. However, the identical alignment of the basilica and the forum square suggest that they were part of the urban transformation that took place during the first half of the 2nd c. A.D.