The ancient site of Sufetula is partly incorporated
into the town of Sbeitla which, almost a thousand
and a half years later, succeeded to it as one
of the main towns of the Higher Steppe.
Even if the place name Sufetula indicates a more
ancient foundation, the vestiges so far excavated
do not date back beyond the lst century AD.
The city seems to have experienced great prosperity
under Septimus Severus (IInd-IIIrd century) and
into Diocletian’s reign (285-305). Most
of the buildings visible today date to that period
: houses, forum, temples, baths, triumphal gate,
In the absence of inscriptions to shed light
on the different phases of the city’s past,
the discovery of later vestiges, from the late
Empire or the Vandal and Byzantine periods, reflect
the great vitality of the Christian community
in the city. It gained even more importance on
the eve of the Arab conquest, in 647, which put
a stop to Africa’s membership in the Christian
world, signalling its adhesion to the Islamic
empire, after the defeat of the Patriarch Gregory
who ruled the kingdom that had distanced itself
from Constantinople and had made Sufetula its
capital instead of Carthage.
The site of Sufetula is the first to have been
equipped with lighting and full signposting.