EL DJEM MUSEUM
Specialists recommend a visit to this museum before visiting other vestiges of the ancient city of Thysdrus, now known as El Jem. The museum contains many architectonic elements that belonged to the decoration of the city’s superb villas and public buildings and in particular, the sumptuous mosaic pavements, undoubtedly amongst the finest of Roman antiquity. The museum was built on the site of a roman villa and reproduces its layout: a central courtyard with a peristyle leading into the rooms where sculptures, mosaics, ceramics etc are displayed. These originate from the excavation campaigns carried out in Thysdrus as well as in the vicinity. The museum has recently acquired a new wing illustrating in a very eloquent manner the richness and diversity of crafts during the roman period. The museum leads directly into an “archaeological park” including vestiges of the villa known as that of the peacock and of Sollertiana. It is a splendid patrician dwelling with a number of its mosaic pavements conserved in sit. The same area contains a reconstruction to scale of the “house of Africa”, a sumptuous aristocratic dwelling built around 170 AD and discovered by chance in the 1990s. It takes its name from the two mosaic pictures figuring, within a central medallion, one goddess Africa, the other the province of Africa, the only known representations of the African continent.