THE MONUMENT AT AUGES (MACTARIS, TUNISIA)
The Mactar ‘monument à auges’ (also known as the trough monument) was excavated by Gilbert Picard between 1946 and 1955. This building, constructed between the 3rd and 5th century, is located in the south-western part of the town of Makthar. It is in a remarkable state of preservation. It is one of a series of buildings of this type that are well represented in North Africa and seem characteristic of Late Antiquity.
The functionality of this building is the most controversial issue. C.-G. Picard considered several options in relation to the functional hypotheses put forward for other rooms of similar structure found in North Africa: a changing room, in relation to nearby baths; a drinking trough or feeding trough for animals; a market area; or a storage area (Picard 1957, 142-145). Other authors see it as having other uses, ranging from a stable to a collection point, a macellum or a banking establishment.
To date, the ‘monument à auges’ of Mactar has not been the subject of a detailed archaeological study. However, the quality of the remains in situ and the well-preserved examples make it possible to propose a reconstruction. The layout and general organisation of the building are well known. The remains in situ and the scattered blocks make it possible to guarantee the reconstruction of the main building, a rare example of a centred plan with four apses. However, the relationship with the peripheral corridor remains a matter of conjecture, as do the overall height and roofing system of the building.