The Promotion of Tourism in Carthage (Tunisia) during the American Archaeological Excavations (1921-1925)

Autore: Jorge García Sánchez
In: Africa. N.S. IV/1, 2022
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In the early 1920s, American archaeologist Byron Khun de Prorok, with private funding and the support of leading figures from the world of French archaeology, carried out excavations of a Roman domus on the hill of Juno and at the famous tophet or sanctuary of Tanit and Baal-Hammon, both located in Carthage. From the outset, one of his main objectives was to attract foreign tourists to the ancient Punic metropolis, interested in publicizing his archaeological activities; he therefore took care to musealise the sites brought to light and to preserve their material culture, as well as making film recordings to attract the attention of the general public and potential investors, whose donations enabled him to continue his research in Carthage. In particular, during the dissemination of the excavations of the tophet, he did not hesitate to publish sensationalist interpretations in the press that sidelined archaeological science in favour of the literary flights of fancy contained in Gustave Flaubert’s historical novel Salammbô (1862).

keywords: Byron khun de prorok; Carthage; Archaeology; Colonialism; Tunisia