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Archeology, Identity, Heritage

> Participants


Monique Dondin-Payre (CNRS)
Laurence Gillot (Paris 7)
Jean-Pierre Guilhembet (Paris 7)
Meriem Sebaï (Paris 1)

ANHIMA members

D. Chatzivasilious (Collège de France), Sylvia Estienne (ENS), Kaheld Marmouri, John Scheid (Collège de France), Jean-Pierre Vallat (Paris 7)

Doctoral students

Mekki El Aoudi (Uni. Sfax)


C. Balandier, O. Bouet, A. Cailleaud (INHA), S. Chauffour (INHA), M. Cohen, M. Denoyelle (INHA), H. Dridi (Uni. Neuchâtel), F. Queyroux (INHA), D. Laroque (ENSAPVS), A. Del (EVCAU, ENSAPVS), S. Khazindar (conseillère Patrimoine, Arabie Saoudite et architecte), J. Schlanger (EPHE), C. Tavernari (Abdullah Gül University).

External collaborators

S. Aounallah (INP Tunis), M. Bacha (Intru), T. Belkahia (Uni. Tunis), L. Ben Abid (ISMP Tunis), H. Ben Romdhane (INP Tunis), H. Jaïdi (Uni. Tunis-Diraset), R. Kaabia (Uni. Sousse), S. Saint-Amans (Louvre)

> About

This program consists of three project areas :

1. The most long-standing project, “Ancient North Africa : Identities and Representations” (“L’Afrique du nord antique, identités et représentations,” directed by M. Dondin-Payre and M. Sebaï), has been thoroughly reconstituted thanks to the opportunity offered since the library and archives of the Poinssot family have been made available. Three generations of the Poinssot family worked on the collection from the mid-19th century to the end of the 20th, covering the archeology and history of North Africa.
The exploitation of this material, arranged within the framework of an agreement between ANHIMA and the INHA, seeks to highlight the genesis and evolution of European perceptions of ancient Africa and to collect previously unpublished information on the sites themselves. Several workshops have been held within the framework of the joint ANHIMA-INHA program “French Archeology in North Africa” (“L’archéologie française en Afrique du Nord”), most recently on March 28-29, 2014. Additionally, all the participants are working to publish and exploit archeological and manuscript sources on North Africa.


2. UThe second project “Archeology, Architecture and Heritage” (“Archéologie, architecture et patrimoine,” directed by J.-P. Guilhembet and L. Gillot) applies archeological practice to the valorization and use of remains for heritage and memorial purposes in various contexts.
This project plans, among other things, to pursue work on the Figuig oasis (Morocco), to complete an archeological map of the oasis and establish a GIS, to extend research to new sites, and to investigate the state of local memory. Another project is to enhance the Greco-Roman city of Olbia (Hyères) : to create digital models, develop tourist paths (collaboration between the archeological service of the site, the town of Hyères, and the EVCAU center of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Val de Seine). This research project simultaneously explores the transmission and reception of the ancient heritage, especially the architectural and archeological heritage, and the processes of patrimonialization in the Mediterranean basin.


3. “Inventory of Cult Sites of Ancient Tunisia” (“Inventaire des lieux de culte de la Tunisie Antique” – ILCTA, directed by J. Scheid, M. Dondin-Payre, and Meriem Sebaï).
This project is an offshoot of the project “Fana Templa Delubra” directed by John Scheid. The goal of this inventory is to create a useful tool for gathering scattered scholarly literature to obtain a global, long-term overview of the religious systems of ancient Africa, from the pre-Roman era to Late Antiquity.
The inventory is currently composed of dossiers available in the Poinssot archives and library and is drawing new material from ongoing archeological research in the Maghreb. The chronological range of the project, from the 8th century B.C. to the 7th century A.D., allows us to pursue questions that go beyond the simple framework of the Roman province of Africa and to explore problems of the definition of cult sites, their identification, and their long-term topographical embeddedness. This project is the object of institutional collaboration between the research center “History of Mediterranean Economies and Societies” of the University of Tunis, the Anthropology Center of the University of Sousse, and the National Institute of the Heritage of Tunis, and the University of Neuchatel.

> Publications

– Dondin-Payre M., avec L. Bonato, (2014), « C’est du plus magnifique café du monde que je t’écris », l’architecte Edmond Duthoit au Levant et en Afrique du nord au XIXe s. Lettres et dessins inédits, Paris, Geuthner.

– Dondin-Payre M. (2013), « Jules Toutain et Stéphane Gsell à l’École française de Rome (1886-1891) : une étape décisive pour l’étude du Maghreb », dans Gras M., Poncet O. (dir.), Construire l’institution. L’École française de Rome, 1873-1895, nouvelle édition [en ligne], Rome. Disponible sur Internet : <>

– Gillot L., Del A. et Cohen M. (2012), Patrimoine et développement local : pratiques institutionnelles et pratiques sociales, Actes du symposium scientifique de la 17e Assemblée générale de l’ICOMOS, Paris.

– Gillot L., Del A. (2012), « Preparation and Submission of the nomination File of the Oasis of Figuig (Morocco) for inscription on the WHL : impacts and uses of a GIS », Geoinformatics 6, 2012, p. 140-149.

– Gillot L. et al. (2012), Rapport d’activités : les fouilles archéologiques du qsar des Ouled Jaber, Figuig, Maroc (2010-2012), Paris, Université Paris 7.

– Sebaï M. (2013), « Stéréotypes contemporains, stéréotypes antiques : les images saturniennes dans la constitution des identités religieuses africaines sur quelques stèles d’Afrique romaine », H. Ménard, R. Plana-Mallart( éd.), Contacts de cultures, constructions identitaires et stéréotypes dans l’espace méditerranéen antique, Montpellier, p. 129-141.

– J.-P. Vallat (éd.), Le patrimoine marocain : Figuig, une oasis au cœur des cultures, L’Harmattan, Paris, 2014.

> Finished Projects

→ The digital integration of rare works from the Poinssot library in a tool for managing and disseminating the material hosted by the AGHORA site of the INHA :

→ « Autour du Fonds Poinssot. Lumières sur l’archéologie tunisienne (1870-1980) », (INHA, 28 et 29 mars 2014), joint ANHIMA-INHA workshops, with presentations by interventions notamment de M. Dondin-Payre, L. Gillot, K. Marmouri, M. Sebaï.

→ The joint ANHIMA-INHA research log « Fonds Poinssot. Un siècle d’archéologie française en Afrique du Nord » presents ongoing research on the Poinssot collection and notes on developments on specialized subjects.

> Future projects

– J.-P. Vallat (éd.), Le patrimoine marocain : Figuig, une oasis au cœur des cultures, L’Harmattan, Paris, 2014.

– Multidisciplinary, international workshop “The Figuig Oasis : Material and Immaterial Culture” (“L’oasis de Figuig : culture matérielle et immatérielle”), June 20, 2014, University of Paris Diderot :
Presentation of the book, exposition at the library of Grands Moulins, showing of the film by Alain Monclin (Paris 7), discussion of the role of the Paris Diderot Foundation, UNESCO, the Moroccan authorities, cultural, territorial, economic, and social matters, and a Moroccan concert and buffet.

– “Heritage-Scapes : Paysages patrimoniaux,” a special issue of the journal Ethnologies 35, no. 2 (2015), appeared in June 2014, in conjunction with the international symposium “Shaping Heritage-Scapes : Processes of Patrimonialization in a Globalised World,” University of Lausanne, August 27-28, 2012 (in collaboration with the University of Lausanne).

– Preparation of a database of “Respects and Networks in the Poinssot Collection” (“Hommages et Réseaux dans le Fonds Poinssot,” directed by M. Sebaï).

– H. Dridi, M. Sebaï, (éds.), Écrire l’Antiquité : expériences d’Afrique et d’ailleurs, Cahiers de Tunisie, Tunis 2015 (forthcoming).

– M. Dondin-Payre, H. Jaïdi, S. Saint-Amans, M. Sebaï, Autour du fonds Poinssot. Lumières sur l’archéologie tunisienne (1870-1980), Les collections électroniques INHA, 2015 (forthcoming).

– Integration of the cult sites of Tunisia in the database of the FTD project of the Collège de France.

– Preparation of a fascicle for the inventory of cult sites of Tunisia : Thuburbo Maius and Surroundings, Open Edition.

> Prospects

→ The project “Ancient North Africa, Identities and Representations” is developing several areas of research and collaboration by branching out to include new, unpublished documentary sources of different kinds : excavation archives, correspondence between the directors of archeological institutions and amateur archeologists. The rich historical and historiographical information on Tunisia available in the Poinssot Collection allows us to pursue several collaborative projects led by Tunisian institutions ; agreements have currently been reached with different Tunisian universities.
→ In the context of the program “Archeology, Architecture, and Heritage,” in addition to archeological investigations, a heritage GIS is currently being prepared, and scientific documentation of the inhabitants of the Figuig oasis over the long term is being compiled. The team will pursue candidacy of Figuig as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Associated researchers are also pursuing other fields and subjects (social history of archeology, processes of patrimonialization, history and urban heritage, history of architecture).
A filmography gives a synthesis of the past, present, and future steps of this project to win Figuig status as a World Heritage Site, available online :
"Figuig, labyrinthe de terre et d’eau" (“Figuig, Labyrinth of Earth and Water,” by Alain Monclin)
"Révélations d’un manuscrit" ((“The Revelations of a Manuscript,” by Alain Monclin)
"Figuig carrefour des cultures » ((“Figuig, a Crossroads of Cultures,” by Alain Monclin)
→ Le comité scientifique du projet « Inventaire des lieux de culte de la Tunisie antique » a entamé la rédaction des fiches d’inventaire, il s’est donné pour mission d’assurer le suivi documentaire dans les archives françaises et tunisiennes et sur le terrain ; actuellement, il prévoit la publication d’un fascicule sur Thuburbo Maius.

→ The academic committee for the project “Inventory of the Cult Sites of Ancient Tunisia” has begun to compile its inventory, which it will follow up by gathering material from French and Tunisian archives and on-site investigation ; currently, the publication of a fascicle on Thuburbo Maius is planned.

The plan to use this technology consists of two complementary steps :
1) “Classic” methods (i.e., corresponding to activities that have already been carried out) : modeling and restoration of buildings, follow-up of excavations... At the Olbia site, models will accompany museum approaches to the site and complement existing archeological plans. The plans made to date have used manual techniques, laser telemetry, and tachometry. They are incomplete and pay little attention to the elevated areas above the extant remains.
The 3D laser scanner and accompanying software suite are ideal tools for creating global plans and a virtually exhaustive digital record of the excavated areas and remains still standing. It enables us to carry out every measurement necessary not only on the ground, but also in the office, to create “stone by stone” plans off-site and stratigraphic units in connection with problems of the study of the archeology of structures.
These exhaustive plans will cover the Roman baths to the northeast of the site, the remains of the abbey of St. Peter of Almanarre (in the immediate vicinity of the baths), and the remains of the precincts. They will also serve as a basis for digital models that can be shared among researchers and for digital reconstructions or virtual tours for the general public (with the software programs TrueView or Cloudworks and 3Dsmax), supported by interactive “pre-visit” documents online.

2) “Innovative” methods (i.e., addressing a research question) : we intend to compare the performance of three protocols for the digitalization and geometric measurement of Roman measurement tables (mensae ponderariae) : lasergrammetry, classic photogrammetry, and photogrammetry with dense epipolar correlation.
These objects (around one hundred specimens are preserved) remain little studied. This technology will enable us to develop a consistent method to precisely calculate the volume of non-geometrically shaped cavities and will help us understand how these tables were actually used ; many of them have latches on their upper face to hold metal pieces, and some of them have pitted cavities. The role of metal jars that could be inserted there would thus be explained. The findings will ultimately be entered into a GIS (position and dissemination across the Roman Empire).
The findings of preliminary experiments will be shared at a half-day presentation in early 2015.

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