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4.6 Travels in Tunisia [2000]

4.6 Travels in Tunisia [2000]


4.6 Travels in Tunisia [2000]

In July of 2000, Dr. Susan Keefe traveled to North Africa in order to visit and photograph the ruins of various sites, in some cases traveling to known locations of baptismal fonts and in some cases hoping to find baptisteries that had simply evaded documentation. The Divinity Archive hosts her photographs from the trip as well as her handwritten journal account of her journey. In most cases, the description of the photographs is taken from Dr. Keefe's own words, lightly edited for clarity.

Dr. Keefe's journal from her weeks in North Africa, as well as her notes and correspondence planning for the trip, can be found in the Keefe Collection, Box 2, Folder 43. The photographs from her trip are in Box 3, envelopes 1–4.

Dr. Keefe's Itinerary

4 July 2000: Carthage. Visits to the tophet (where human sacrifices were offered to the gods) outside of Carthage (photos 1-4) as well as the Basilica Damous el Karita (photos 5-8), the Basilica of Douimès at the Parc Archaeologique de Thermes (photos 9-14), and the Basilica of St. Cyprian (photo 15), where Monica prayed for Augustine when the latter left Africa.

5 July 2000: Tunis. Visit to the Bardo Museum in Tunis, where Dr. Keefe photographed various mosaics and other artifacts (photos 16-24). The day continued with a trip to Utica where she viewed Roman and Punic remains, including Roman cisterns currently being used to store hay (no photographs). Dr. Keefe briefly refers to her guide as "absolutely no good" on account of his persistent disbelief that she would want to walk and "see everything" in the heat.

6 July 2000: Jebel Oust. Visits to the Roman baths at Jebel Oust (photos 25-39), and a pagan temple converted into a Christian church at Thuburbo Maius (photo 40).

7 July 2000: Hammam-Lif, Kelibia. Dr. Keefe travels to a dusty town based only on a slide in her possession labeled "Hammam-Lif." She finds a hexagonal baptistery, beautifully preserved (photos 41-44), and she and her driver investigate its water source. She also visited Sidi Daoud and the Punic ruins at Kerkouane before moving on to Kelibia (photos 45-46), the site from which the Bardo Museum in Tunis acquired many of its interesting mosaics and other pieces.

8 July 2000: Mafoura. Dr. Keefe takes a long journey in pursuit of a baptismal font at a site east of Tebourba called Borj el Djerbi (renamed, she discovers, Mafoura). She and her driver end up at a man's farmhouse and are shown a basin that remained mostly buried. Dr. Keefe suspects it is a Roman bath, as the surrounding ruins do not suggest church walls (photos 47-51). Excited to host his first tourists, the proprietor then revealed to Dr. Keefe two Roman capitals he had found on his farm (photos 52-53) and a number of mosaics (photos 54-56).

9 July 2000: Bulla Regia, Chemtou, Henchir el Fouar. Dr. Keefe finds a Christian basilica with an odd baptismal font, cruciform with dividers in the arms (photos 57-61). Then on to the quarry famous for its yellow marble at Chemtou, where Dr. Keefe finds a partially excavated Byzantine church but no font (photos 62-63). Finally, she visits Henchir el Fouar and finds the ruins of two Christian churches with quatrefoil baptismal fonts (photos 64-68).

10 July 2000: Dougga, Mustis, Maktar, Haidra. Dr. Keefe visits the ruins of the Church of Victoria in Dougga (photo 69) before moving on to find a circular baptismal font in the ruins at Mustis (photos 70-71), whose water source she was able to locate. In Maktar, she finds the Church of Hileguna and its baptismal font (photo 72). Her final stop before arriving at the hotel in Sbeitla is Haidra, where she took no photos but copied several fourth-century Christian inscriptions on tomb slabs at the Basilica of Bishop Melleus. These appear in Dr. Keefe's journal.

11 July 2000: Sbeitla, Kasserine, Cillium, Sbiba. Dr. Keefe visits Sbeitla (photos 73-84), and views the ruins and baptismal fonts of the churches of St. Vitalis and St. Servus, as well as the ruins of the Basilica of St. Vitalis. She also visits Kasserine and Cillium, but finds no Christian ruins (photos 85-86). Her last stop before Sfax for the night was Sbiba, where a fellow scholar had reported bribing a guard to be able to see the ruins of two basilicas and a baptismal font -- but Dr. Keefe cannot find these.

12 July 2000: Sfax. Dr. Keefe explores the Archaeological Museum and finds several mosaics that adorned the Great Basilica of Skhira (s. VI), and likely the basilica's baptistery or just outside it (photos 87-90).

13 July 2000: Sousse. Dr. Keefe views the Christian tomb mosaics at Sousse's Archaeological Museum (photos 91-92).

14 July 2000: Henchir Zembra, Enfida, Takrouna, Henchir Chigarnia. Dr. Keefe visits the ruins of a Roman amphitheater at Henchir Zembra (photo 93) before spending time looking at the tomb mosaics and epitaphs at a museum (formerly a French Catholic church) in Enfida (photos 94-103). A brief visit to the Berber village of Takrouna (photos 104-105), and finally on to ancient Uppena (Henchir Chigarnia), where Dr. Keefe finds three baptismal fonts (photos 106-112).

15 July 2000: Carthage. Dr. Keefe visits the amphitheater where Perpetua and Felicity were martyred in AD 202 (photos 113-119). From her journal: "Also cut open my leg & bled (appropriate to do there, climbing a pillar to get a photo)." She also visited the National Archaeological Museum (photos 120-121).

16 July 2000: Carthage. Dr. Keefe has Mass at the Cathedral and flies to Paris.

17-20 July 2000: Paris. Dr. Keefe acquires a four-day pass to study manuscripts at the Bibliotheque Nacionale. In the evenings she visits the Louvre, the Church of St. Madeline, and Notre Dame Cathedral.

21 July 2000: Albi, Arles. Dr. Keefe visits another library before taking trains to Toulouse and Arles, though she finds the Eglise du St. Cesare closed.

22 July 2000: Arles. Dr. Keefe visits and photographs several early Christian sarcophagi at the Museum of Christian Antiquities (photos not found).

23 July 2000: Arles, Milan. After 8:30 Mass in Arles, Dr. Keefe travels to Milan and visits St. Ambrose's Basilica.

24 July 2000: Milan, Bern. Dr. Keefe sees five manuscripts at the library in Milan and travels to Bern, where she arrives with just enough time to check the library's opening time and visit the Protestant Cathedral.

25 July 2000: Bern, Basel, Würzburg. Dr. Keefe sees several manuscripts in Bern, then travels to Basel to use their library. She then takes a series of trains to Würzburg.

26 July 2000: Würzburg, Trier. Dr. Keefe sees several manuscripts at the library in the university area of Würzburg, then travels to Trier and visits the amphitheater.

27 July 2000: Trier, Verdun. Dr. Keefe sees Carolingian manuscript collections at Trier library and takes a train to Verdun in on-again-off-again pouring rain.

28 July 2000: Verdun, Paris. Dr. Keefe makes her way back to Paris and spends one more night in France before flying back to RDU.

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