A joint Polish-Moroccan team of archaeologists in Morocco have unearthed the remains of a Roman watchtower in the city of Volubilis, Morocco.
They assert that this finding is unprecedented in the area. The discovery, which was reported on October 25 in “Science in Poland,” the primary public information source for Polish science, concerns a military observation tower of Roman origin in Volubilis.
Initially, the workers selected a spot on the southern perimeter of Mauretania Tingitana, a former Roman province, for the construction of the watchtower.
The tower is situated approximately four miles south of the region’s once-thriving metropolis, as stated by TVP World.
The discovery provides confirmation of the Roman army’s past presence at the location and offers valuable insights into the defensive systems established by the Romans on the periphery of their empire.
After the conclusion of the third Punic War in 146 BC, the Kingdom of Mauretania emerged, spanning from modern-day Algeria’s central regions to the Atlantic, encompassing northern Morocco and reaching the Atlas Mountains in the south.
While the Kingdom became a client state of the Roman Republic, it retained certain Carthaginian influences, including magistrates who held the title of suffete.
Although similar military observation towers of this design have been uncovered in Scotland, Germany, and Romania, their existence had not been previously documented in Morocco.
Through the examination of satellite images, multiple sites with a distinct shared characteristic—an oval layout containing a rectangle or square within it—were identified. Among these options, this particular site was chosen due to its southernmost location.
According to Maciej Czapski, an archaeologist and Ph.D. student from the University of Warsaw, who is part of the Polish-Moroccan research team, there is a possibility that the site is associated with the presence of the Roman army.
During the excavations, the foundations and walls of a Roman observation tower were revealed, with their preservation reaching a height of approximately 80 cm.
Within the structure, the archaeologists discovered remnants of an internal staircase and fragments of cobblestones on the southern side. Additionally, various Roman military artifacts like sandal nails, javelins, and belt pieces were unearthed.
The experts estimate that the tower dates back to the period spanning the first to third centuries AD. Based on their findings, particularly from the second century AD, the team proposes that the tower was operational during the reign of Antoninus Pius.