Creative Commons Licence
Chrono starts: 
Chrono ends: 
Settlement type: 

Brief description: 

The archaeological site of Tamuda is situated at 4 km south-west the city of Tetouan, and 10 km as crow flies from the Mediterranean coast (figure 1). At this location the ancient city of Tamuda developed at the foot of the massive Rif mountains chain. It  is oe of the most important pre-Islamic archaeological sites in North West Africa (nowadays Morocco). The name of Tamuda appears for the first time on the coins struck in a local workshop in the I century BC, under the forms TMT, TMD, TMDA and TMGDT written in Neo-Punic characters. At the following century I AD, in his Naturalis Historia, Pliny the Elder mentioned briefly the existence of a river named Tamuda and homonymic city. The respective texts of Pomponius Mela (I century AD) and Ptolemy (II century AD) reported only the river Tamuda (Roget, 1924, 28); it seems that at their time the city have ceased to exist. At the IV century AD, the Notitia Dignitatum (Compilation of the civil and military offices in the Roman Empire) listed the military commanders of the eight units serving the comes of Mauretania Tingitana, and among them, the Ala Herculea unit which was assigned to Tamuco; the actual Military Roman camp of Tamuda (El Khayari, 1996, 14).

The archaeological structures of Tamuda have an exceptional state of preservation, having been abandoned in the 5th century AD, possibly during the mandate of Emperor Honorius. Tamuda has its origin in Punic times, a phase that is still poorly known archaeologically (6th-5th centuries BC). It shows Mauritanian facies dated from the transit of the III to II c. BC, characterized by an orthogonal urbanism of clear Hellenistic influence, of which several public and private buildings have been preserved, separated by streets. Among its structures, a large forum or agora stands out (Tarradell, 1960). On the ruins of the former Mauritanian city, a small military camp or castellum was erected at the time of the provincialization, with Claudius -of barely one hectare of surface-, which was the northernmost of the entire Mauretania Tingitana (Villaverde, 2001; Lenoir, 2011). It has been the subject of recent archaeo-architectural studies (Campos and Bermejo, 2015). During the last decade, it has been possible to specify the various phases of activity of the Mauritanian and Roman site, with an active settlement for about 700 years (Bernal-Casasola et al., 2013).

The site is located near Tetouan, in the Martil river basin, which is part of the Rif Mountain Range. The regional geology is very complex as large morphostructural units which can be divided into different domains converge here: the External Zone (made up of Upper Cretaceous marls, Paleocene white marls and limestones, and some Eocene flyschoid outcrops), Internal Zone (includes the Sebtid and Gomarid lithotectonic complexes, as well as the Dorsal units), Flyschs units (quartz sandstones, schists, marl, etc.), and Neogene-Quaternary basins such as the Martil river, where Tamuda is located (Pique, 1994; Sanz de Galdeano, 1997; Asebriy and Tejeda de León, 2003; Chalouan et al., 2008). The archaeological site is situated on a raised terrace above the river (Fig. 2B). Alluvial quaternary materials and geomorphological units of alluvial plain and small plateaus predominate in the surrounding environment of the site. This alluvial plain ends in a landscape of permanent marshes at the mouth of the river, in the vicinity of Sidi Abdeslam. The Martil terraces are made up of various geological materials (sands, gravels, pebbles, and conglomerates), and their origin dates back to the end of the Pliocene (Gómez and Martín-Vivaldi, 2010). Quaternary deposits developed on these materials and are mainly composed of clays, giving rise to impermeable soils. The archaeological site is based on these materials, as has been verified in numerous stratigraphic surveys, where a thick basal level of cemented conglomerates with heterometric limestone clasts is always documented, and on which red clays develop due to limestone dissolution. It is on these clays where the first archaeological strata are found.

The Martil basin is highly exposed to the risk of flooding. In fact, the historical climatic series in this region show seasonal and torrential floods that even today are a risk for the local population. The strong irregularity of the hydrological regimes of the Martil basin, the nature of the cover soils, often composed of impermeable clays, and the disparity between a mountainous relief upstream and a vast floodplain downstream, explain the generation of runoff in the form of torrential and violent floods (Karrouchi et al 2016).

  1. Asebriy, L., Tejera de León, J. (Eds.), 2003. Apport des connaissances geologiques au developpement des regions nor du Maroc: La Chaine Rifaine dans son cadre mediterraneen occidental, Travaux de L’Institut Scientifique. Série Géologie & Géographie Physique. Rabat.

  2. Bermejo, J., Campos Carrasco, J.M. (Eds.), 2015. El urbanismo militar del Castellum de Tamuda: la castrametación interior, Hispania antigua. Serie arqueológica. “L’Erma” di Bretschneider, Roma.

  3. Bernal Casasola, D., Bustamante-Álvarez, M., Díaz Rodríguez, J.J., Expósito Álvarez, J.A., Moujoud, T., 2018. Tamuda revisitada. De la primera destrucción ¿sertoriana ? al foso del castellum (2014-2018). Antiquités Africaines 54, 53–84.

  4. Bernal Casasola, D., Díaz, J.J., Bustamante Álvarez, M., Pascual, M.A., Fantuzzi, L., Retamosa, J.A., Ghottes, M., 2019. Tamuda y las ánforas mauritanas occidentales. Apuntes tipológicos y arqueométricos. Herom. Journal on Hellenistic and Roman Material Culture 8, 155–210.

  5. Bernal Casasola, D., Raissouni, B. (Eds.), 2013. Tamuda: cronosecuencia de la ciudad mauritana y del “castellum” romano: resultados arqueológicos del Plan de Investigación del PET (2008-2010), Colección de monografías del Museo Arqueológico de Tetuán. Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Cádiz, Cádiz.

  6. Bernal Casasola, D., Raissouni, B., Bustamante Álvarez, M., Sáez, A.M., Díaz, J.J., Lagóstena, J., Lara, M., 2012. La datación de Tamuda: asentamiento púnico, ciudad mauritana y castellum romano: novedades estratigráficas, in: L’Africa Romana : Trasformazione Dei Paesaggi Del Potere Nell’Africa Settantrionale Fino Alla Fine Del Mondo Antico (Atti Del XIX Convegno Di Studio, Sassari, 16-19 Dicembre 2010); Vol. 3. Carocci, Roma, pp. 2443–2478.

  7. Bernal-Casasola, D., Bustamante-Álvarez, M., Expósito, J.A., Verdugo, J., Pascual, M.A., Lara, M., Vargas, J.M., Castellano, A., Parodi-Álvarez, M., Retamosa, J.A., Portillo, J.L., Ghottes, M., Moujoud, T., 2020. Ánforas y microespacio en Tamuda. Avance del contexto mauritano del Barrio Oriental, in: Viegas, C. (Ed.), Rei Cretariae Romanae Fautorum. Presented at the Acta 46, Archaeopress, Oxford, pp. 599–610.

  8. Bernal-Casasola, D., Ramos-Muñoz, J., Kbiri Alaoui, M., Tarradell-Font, N., Zouak, M. (Eds.), 2021. Gar Cahal y Tamuda en el Archivo Tarradell. Historiografía y Arqueología en el norte de África Occidental, Etudes et Travaux d’Archéologie Marocaine. INSAP, Editorial UCA Universidad de Cádiz, Rabat.

  9. Campos Carrasco, J.M., Bermejo Meléndez, J., Fernández Sutilo, L., 2015. Fundación y evolución del Castellum de Tamuda: de la destrucción de la ciudad mauritana a los siglos bajoimperiales, in: L’Africa Romana : Momenti Di Continuità e Rottura : Bilancio Di Trent’anni Di Convegni ’L’Africa Romana ; Atti Del XX Convegno Internazionale Di Studi, Alghero - Porto Conte Ricerche, 26-29 Settembre 2013. Carocci, Roma, pp. 893–897.

  10. Campos, J.C., Bermejo, J. (Eds.), 2013. La arquitectura militar del Castellum de Tamuda: los sistemas defensivos, Hispania antigua. Serie arqueològica. L’Erma di Bretschneider, Roma.

  11. Chalouan, A., Michard, A., Kadiri, Kh.E., Negro, F., Frizon de Lamotte, D., Soto, J.I., Saddiqi, O., 2008. The Rif Belt, in: Michard, A., Saddiqi, O., Chalouan, A., Frizon de Lamotte, D. (Eds.), Continental Evolution: The Geology of Morocco, 116. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp. 203–302. 

  12. El Khayari, A., 1998. Tamuda: recherches archéologiques et historiques.

  13. Gómez Zotano, J., Martín-Vivaldi Caballero, M.E., 2010. Cartografía y unidades geomorfológicas de la provincia de Tetuán, Marruecos. Boletín de la Asociación de Geógrafos Españoles 54, 149–173.

  14. Karrouchi, M., Ouazzani Touhami, M., Oujidi, M., Chourak, M., 2016. Cartographie des zones à risque d’inondation dans la région Tanger-Tétouan: Cas du bassin versant de Martil (Nord du Maroc). International Journal of Innovation and Applied Studies 14, 1019–1035.

  15. Lenoir, M., 1991. Le camp de Tamuda et la chronologie de quelques camps du Maroc, in: Camps, G., Lepelley, C. (Eds.), Histoire et Archéologie de l’Afrique Du Nord : Actes Du IVe Colloque International Réuni Dans Le Cadre Du 113e Congrès National Des Sociétés Savantes (Strasbourg, 5-9 Avril 1988) Tome II, L’Armée et Les Affaires Militaires. Éditions du CTHS, Paris, pp. 355–365.

  16. Parodi Álvarez, M.J., 2015. La identificación del yacimiento de Tamuda (Tetuán, Marruecos): algunas notas, in: L’Africa Romana : Momenti Di Continuità e Rottura : Bilancio Di Trent’anni Di Convegni ’L’Africa Romana ; Atti Del XX Convegno Internazionale Di Studi, Alghero - Porto Conte Ricerche, 26-29 Settembre 2013. Carocci, Roma, pp. 873–884.

  17. Piqué, A., 1994. Géologie du Maroc. Les domaines régionaux et leer évolution structurale. Pumag, Rabat.

  18. Quintero y Atauri, P., Gimenez Bernal, C., 1946a. Excavaciones en Tamuda. Memoria resumen de las practicadas en 1945, Junta superior de monumentos historicos y artisticos. Tetuan  Imp. Majzen.

  19. Quintero y Atauri, P., Gimenez Bernal, C. (Eds.), 1946b. Excavationes en Tamuda, 9: Memoria resumen de las practicada en 1945. Majzen, Tetuan.

  20. Quintero y Atauri, P., Gimenez Bernal, C., 1945. Excavaciones en Tamuda. Memoria resumen de las practicadas en 1944, Junta superior de monumentos historicos y artisticos. Tetuan  Imp. Majzen.

  21. Quintero y Atauri, Pelayo, Gimenez Bernal, C. (Eds.), 1945. Excavationes en Tamuda, 8: Memoria resumen de las practicada en 1944. Majzen, Tetuan.

  22. Quintero y Atauri, P., Gimenez Bernal, C., 1944a. Excavaciones en Tamuda. Memoria resumen de las practicadas en 1943, Junta superior de monumentos historicos y artisticos. Tetuan  Imp. Martinez, G. Franco.

  23. Quintero y Atauri, P., Gimenez Bernal, C. (Eds.), 1944b. Excavationes en Tamuda, 7: Memoria resumen de las practicada en 1943. Martinez, Tetuan.

  24. Quintero y Atauri, P., Gimenez Bernal, C., 1943a. Excavaciones en Tamuda. Memoria resumen de las practicadas en 1942, Junta superior de monumentos historicos y artisticos. Larache  Artes gráficas Bosca.

  25. Quintero y Atauri, P., Gimenez Bernal, C. (Eds.), 1943b. Excavationes en Tamuda, 6: Memoria resumen de las practicada en 1942. Artes Gráfica boscá, Larache.

  26. Sanz de Galdeano, C., 1997. La Zona Interna Bético-Rifeña. Universidad de Granada, Granada.

  27. Vidal Teruel, N. de la O., Campos Carrasco, J.M., 2013. La instalación militar de Tamuda en el contexto de la provincia mauritana y otros ámbitos del imperio, in: La Arquitectura Militar Del Castellum de Tamuda : Los Sistemas Defensivos. L’Erma di Bretschneider, Roma, pp. 267–297.