Dougga

Us in front of the Capitol

Us in front of the Capitol

Shouldn't they always be on pedestals?

Shouldn’t they always be on pedestals?

Rich took this picture of the kids and I standing on the Nymphaeum.

Rich took this picture of the kids and I standing on the Nymphaeum. Imagine a curved half-dome roof where we are standing. You can see the Punic Mausoleum in the background.

Dougga is an ancient Roman city built on an older Punic (Carthagenian) city, so it is unusual for a Roman city because the roads do not follow the traditional Roman linear pattern.  It is also unusually complete for a ruin, because the city died out after the Romans, so there wasn;t much need to pillage the stone form the city to build other stuff.  It became a small agricultural town, and the last of the people who lived in it were moved to New Dougga in the 1960’s.

You can read more about the History of Dougga here.

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IMG_1265 Do you see Zay in there in the upper photo?

The Punic Mausoleum was fun to climb.  It had two opened door in it, so naturally, Jet and Zaylie wanted to go in. I boosted them up to get a good look, but there were more stone doorways, and they didn’t want to go further in.  Mausoleums are for dead people, and they didn’t want to find a dead person, even if the person has been dead for 2200 years! IMG_1263  IMG_1267

But I am getting ahead of myself!  In a previous post I wrote about the foods I could find to eat if we were wildcrafting.  I forgot to mention prickly pear fruits, though.  We buy them at the market, and they are very yummy, kind of like dragonfruit, but with the consistency of a passionfruit.  And such cheery colours, too!  They are available on all the cactus growing wild in the ditches and empty lots.

So when we arrived at Dougga and found a little temple with cactus fruit growing right over the wall, it seemed like a great idea to snack on our own sun-warmed, fresh-picked prickly pear fruit to start us off.  Look!

See the fruit in the top left of the photo?

See the fruit in the top left of the photo? It’s actually falling on the ground, it is so plentiful.

Like eating a sunset!

And we all enjoyed it, until we realized we were covered in cactus fuzz, and each hair had to be pulled out individually.  And it prickled.  Which is a desert fruit way of saying hurt very much.

I took the first bite, and was perhaps the most incautious.  I ended up with a lip full of prickles that felt like I had a walrus mustache INSIDE my top lip.  It is truly a loving family when your people will take the time to pick individual cactus hairs from the inside of your lip.

The awful thing about cactus hairs in your lip is how one is tempted to explore the prickles with one’s tongue, which transfers the tiny hairs to one’s tongue.  The tongue then goes about its usual tongue business, touching other parts of the mouth, which can transfer the little swords to the gums, the roof of the mouth, or to the lower lip. And here is something your family cannot do:  They cannot pick the hairs off the inside of your gums over your molars.  They just can’t.  There is a space, light and access problem on their side, and a breathing and manouvering problem on the stuck person’s side.  Also, have you looked at your tongue lately? It’s got bumpy tastebuds on it.  How can you see a fine hair amongst all that texture?  Tongue mounted cactus hairs are just yours till they grow out.  It’s four days later, and I still have a few bristles left in my lip.  Later, in town, when we saw truckfuls of the fruit for sale, we also saw that people had stiff rubber gloves and thick cloths for getting the fruit ready.  Oh. IMG_1246

So, while we explored the ruins, we also had to stop periodically and pick the thin spines off our hands and faces. As you are admiring the photos, please also envision the mutual grooming and groaning.

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Public toilets behind Cyclops house. There’s room for lots more, and a trough to wash yourself after.

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And a basin to wash your hands when you are done.

Tayo on a single serve toilet.

Tayo on a single serve toilet.

Rich, Jet, Zaylie sitting on the wall where the roof would go over a fancy house. We are looking through the courtyard in the middle of the house, and you can see the columns which would have supported a roof over the hall surrounding the yard. The hall mosaic was still there!

Rich, Jet, Zaylie sitting on the wall where the roof would go over a fancy house. We are looking through the courtyard in the middle of the house, and you can see the columns which would have supported a roof over the hall surrounding the yard. The hall mosaic was still there!

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Arch over the Licinian Baths. The frigidarium is on the left, with little nooks for the statuary. This would have been roofed over at the time. There are tunnels underneath for the slaves to use while they maintain the baths.

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Mosaic floor in the Licinian Bath

Roman Road.  On some of them we could see wear from the centuries of cart wheels. It is more than a little unbelievable.  Are any of our roads going to be functioning in 1500 years?

Roman Road. On some of them we could see wear from the centuries of cart wheels. It is more than a little unbelievable. Are any of our roads going to be functioning in 1500 years?

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2 Responses to Dougga

  1. Susan says:

    Wow, so beautiful!

    Like

  2. zoozoo says:

    Well I want a Nympheaum in my backyard or at least my town! Now that’s a monument my imagination can get behind … such a beautiful concept! Great photos kids, super reading, thanks PJ. love to all, happy mosaic trails xooxoo zoozoo

    Like

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