Specialists recommend a visit
to this museum before visiting other vestiges
of the ancient city of Thysdrus, now known as
El Jem. The museum contains many architectonic
elements that belonged to the decoration of the
city’s superb villas and public buildings
and in particular, the sumptuous mosaic pavements,
undoubtedly amongst the finest of Roman antiquity.
The museum was built on the site of a roman villa
and reproduces its layout: a central courtyard
with a peristyle leading into the rooms where
sculptures, mosaics, ceramics etc are displayed.
These originate from the excavation campaigns
carried out in Thysdrus as well as in the vicinity.
The museum has recently acquired a new wing illustrating
in a very eloquent manner the richness and diversity
of crafts during the roman period.
The museum leads directly into an “archaeological
park” including vestiges of the villa known
as that of the peacock and of Sollertiana. It
is a splendid patrician dwelling with a number
of its mosaic pavements conserved in sit. The
same area contains a reconstruction to scale of
the “house of Africa”, a sumptuous
aristocratic dwelling built around 170 AD and
discovered by chance in the 1990s. It takes its
name from the two mosaic pictures figuring, within
a central medallion, one goddess Africa, the other
the province of Africa, the only known representations
of the African continent.