Site of El Mellali: Polish and Moroccan archaeologists confirm the presence of a Roman army

The tower was erected at the southern border of the Roman province at a distance of about 2 km from the nearest garrison and about 6.5 km south of the ancient city of Volubilis, said a statement from the Polish Embassy in Morocco.

And to continue that work on the site is continuing since 2021 under a cooperation agreement between the University of Warsaw and the Institute of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (INSAP) in Rabat.

The joint findings confirm the presence of a Roman army on the site of El Mellali. This is a breakthrough in the study of the defense system of the valley in which Volubilis, the largest city in this part of Roman Africa, is located. Previous field missions had proposed the locations of a series of watchtowers, but no one had previously excavated such sites. For the first time, therefore, it was possible to prove that similar towers existed.

Fragments of pilum (Roman javelins) were found on the site, as well as nails from the soles of military sandals and metal elements of the cingulum (military belt).

These discoveries confirm the military vocation of the discovered site. “What Polish archaeologists from the University of Warsaw, led by Professor Radoslaw Karasiewicz- Szczypiorski, have discovered in recent days, has exceeded our expectations,” said Krzysztof Karwowski, Polish ambassador to Morocco. “The foundations of the Roman defense tower are a magnificent testimony to the Roman defense system around Volubilis, thanks to the excellent cooperation between Polish and Moroccan archaeologists. We look forward to their new discoveries,” he added.

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