House of the Figured Basin (Maison du bassin figuré)


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.


UTICA (Utique)
UTICA (Utique) Tunisia(Pleiades)

Location Description

Her geographic situation made of Utica one of the oldest and well-known Phoenician settlements. In 146 B.C, Utica became the capital of the newly created province of Africa and the residence of the governor. With the triumph of Caesar and the resurgence of Carthage, Utica's supremacy would gradually decline under the empire. In 36 B.C. it became a municipium and a colony under Hadrian.

The city was laid out on a grid plan. Numerous buildings have been uncovered, among them the forum, several temples and baths, an amphitheater, a circus, and opulent houses. Many of these buildings of the Republican period were, during the imperial era, replaced by others larger and more luxurious. This explains the existence of two theaters for example, the one fitted into the side of the hill, the other built in open country. Enormous cisterns were constructed, fed by an aqueduct. Still extant on the summit of the acropolis overlooking the town, is a quadrangular edifice habitually referred to as “the citadel,” which could perhaps be simply a water tower.


House of the Figured Basin (Maison du bassin figuré)


Garden Description

The house was located in the insula III. The rectangular courtyard, in the SW corner on the axis of the great hall (XI), paved during the last period may have been a garden earlier (Plan view, Fig.1). It had a semicircular basin with a geometric design in the bottom. The wall and the brim were figured.


Fig. 1: Plan view of the House of the Figured Basin.

Fig. 1: Plan view of the House of the Figured Basin (CMT, plan 22).


2nd-4th century CE


  • Alexander, M. A., Ennaifer, M., Corpus des Mosaïques de Tunisie, Utique, insulae, I-II-III, INA, Tunis, 1973, pp. 121, 126-128, plan 22. (worldcat)
  • Bullo, S. and F. Ghedini,. Amplissimae atque ornatissimae domus: l'edilizia residenziale nelle città della Tunisia romana, Rome: Edizioni Quasar, 2003,pp.344-345. (worldcat)

Pleiades ID





Wilhelmina F. Jashemski (WorldCat Identities: lccn-n80037970)
Amina-Aïcha Malek(ORCID: 0000-0002-1628-615X)

Publication date

21 Apr 2021