This is one of Tunisia’s most precious archaeological sites because it truly is unique. It was founded during the Punic period – most likely in the Vth century BC – and was never rebuilt by the Romans after the third Punic war that resulted in the annexation of Africa to the Roman Empire, thereby ensuring that the urban fabric of this small, as yet unidentified city remained typically Punic.
Apparently abandoned at the end of the war with Rome before being discovered in the 50’s of the last century, the city had more or less been levelled to the ground. Yet today, the vestiges clearly reveal the plan of a typically Punic city, with the houses neatly outlined and equipped with every facility (bathtubs and ovens included) decorated with primitive mosaic pavements, one of which shows the Punic goddess Tanit.
As a coastal city, Kerkouane had a port, some parts of which have survived. It must have engaged in trade with other Mediterranean ports to which it exported agricultural produce as well as craft products, such as purple dyed cloth, as attested by the dyeing installations discovered near the coast as well as the shops also found in a commercial quarter. A museum, housing some of the objects discovered, is to be found at the entrance of the site.