House of the Viridarium with Niches (Maison du viridarium à niches)


Africa Proconsularis
Africa proconsularis (Pleiades)

Province Description

The history of Roman Africa begins in 146 BC with the destruction of Carthage and the establishment of the province of Africa in the most fertile part of the Carthaginian Empire. The new province covered about 5000 square miles (17,172 square kilometers) of the northern part of modern Tunisia. A praetor governed the area from his headquarters at Utica. The Romans inherited a thriving agriculture developed by the Carthaginians. The climate was hospitable. Wheat and barley were the most important cereals; wine and olive oil were also produced and there were various fruit trees.


Pupput (Pleiades)

Plan of the residential quarters (Th. Leroy)

Plan of the residential quarters (Th. Leroy, from Ben Abed Ben Khader, A., Griesheimer, M., 2001)

Location Description

Pupput is located about three km to the northwest of Hammamet. Two inscriptions inform the designated title of the city, which became a colony (Colonia Aurelia Commoda Pia Felix Augusta Pupput) under the reign of Commodus. The city benefited from a strategic location at the crossroads linking Clupea to Thhuburbo and Carthage to Hadrumetum. Large residential quarters with houses and baths were excavated as well as a large necropolis.


House of the Viridarium with Niches (Maison du viridarium à niches)


Garden Description

The house was located in the W neighborhood of the ancient city of Pupput and in present day lies in the precinct of a hotel, the construction of which badly damaged the house (Plan view, Fig.1).

The house has had three phases. During the second phase the garden peristyle (V) was bounded by a low wall that curved to make eight to nine semi circular niches (A, C, D, E, F, G, H, I) facing the galleries of the peristyle. The niches were paved with mosaics some of which figure birds among cut branches (D) and marine scenes (A, I). The second phase of the house is dated from the second half of the IV century.



Plan of the House of the Viridarium with Niches; Ben Abed Ben Khader, A., 2006

Fig. 1: Plan of the House of the Viridarium with Niches (Ch. Peirce, from Ben Abed Ben Khader, A., 1994, Pl. CLXXI)


Photograph of the garden; from Ben Abed Ben Khader, fig. 9, p. 521

Fig. 2: Photograph of the garden (from Ben Abed Ben Khader, 2006, fig. 9, p. 521)


4th century CE


  • Ben Abed Ben Khader, A., “Mosaïques de la maison du viridarium à niches à Pupput (Tunisie)”, in CMGR IV, 1994, pp.265-271, Pl. CLXXI. (worldcat)
  • Ben Abed Ben Khader, A., "Les maisons de Pupput (Tunisie)", in Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 150ᵉ année, N. 1, 2006. pp. 518-522, fig. 8, p. 519, fig. 9, p. 521. (worldcat)
  • Bullo, S., Ghedini, F., Amplissimae atque ornatissimae domus: l'edilizia residenziale nelle città della Tunisia romana, Rome: Edizioni Quasar, 2003, pp. 197-198. (worldcat)

Pleiades ID





Amina-Aïcha Malek (ORCID: 0000-0002-1628-615X)

Publication date

21 Apr 2021