THE MUSEUMOF ENFIDHA
FORMER SAINT AUGUSTINE CHURCH
The Museum of Enfidha is an ancient neo-Romanesque church dedicated to St. Augustine in 1907. Ever since its foundation, this church has housed an important collection of Early Christian mosaics, excavated in 1904-1905from the archaeological sites of the Enfidha region, which were either embedded in the flooror displayed on the walls. In 1966, the church was decommissioned and turned into a regional museum, dedicated to the archaeological heritage of Enfidha and its surroundings. In 2016, are novation program resulted in a new display scheme of the permanent collections, adopting a visit trail that follows both chronological and thematic criteria. The originality of the museum, which boasts a lapidary garden, lies in its exceptional collection of funerary or commemorative floor mosaics of Christian antiquity (5th-6thcenturiesAD), whose presentation is supported by didactic interpretation texts.
The Museum's collections
Mosaics on display convey a decorative and symbolic repertoire highlighting the Christian faith through meaningful symbols, in particular the Christogram and the Eternal Source Cantharus. The martyrs’ mosaic, found in the Henchir Cheguernia (Uppenna) basilica (8 km north of Enfidha), is the centerpiece of the museum.
The funeral tablets housed in the second room of the museum represent the deceased as a hero, either alone or with his companion. The short inscription indicates the Romanized name of the deceased, who is of African origin, followed by his filiation and then the number of years he lived.
On the pagan collection of stelae dedicated to Saturn, dating from the third century AD, the dedicant is a priest (sacerdos), who fulfills his vow on behalf of the community of the faithful. The rosette and the altar, represented on his acroterial stelae, are evocations of the deity which is not represented. The offerings and sacrificial objects are represented first, followed by a stereotypical votive text.
The museum detainstomb goods from a Roman-African necropolis discovered at Ain Garsi (Aggersel). It consists in a collection of heterogeneous ceramics rich in quality and diversity (African red slipware (sigillata), common ceramics, lamps) whose chronology extends from the 1st century the 5th century AD.
Utilitarian artefactson display (grain mill, oil mill, mortar) attest to a mastery of the techniques of transformation of agricultural products by the populations of the Enfidha region whose material culture is a major stake for future research.