The African Ditch

Roman North Africa is a curious concept.

It inspires diagram maps without longitude and latitude.

Limes (plural limites) is a modern term used primarily for the Germanic border defence or delimiting system of Ancient Rome marking the borders of the Roman Empire, but it was not used by the Romans for this purpose. The term has been extended to refer to the frontier defences in other parts of the empire, such as in the east and in Africa.

The limes is often associated with Roman forts, but the concept could apply to any adjoining area the Romans exercised loose control with military forces.

Wikipedia – Limes (Roman Empire)

It inspires diagram maps that pin-point “disappeared” cities.

Mesarfelta was a Roman–Berber town in the province of Numidia.

The historic Mesarfelta is believed to be what are now the ruins of El-Outaïa or those of Tolga, Henchir-El-Ksar, or may be Qastilya in Algeria (according to “Three North-African Topographical Notes (Islamic-Roman)”).

The city is believed to have been constructed as a fortification by the Romans (with annexed “vicus”), in the second half of the first century near the Aures Mountains. It had an amphitheatre during Hadrians reign.

A barrier called Fossatum Africae, which marked the frontier between the territory of the Roman Empire and other lands, ran through Mesarfelta.

The city disappeared after the Muslim conquest in the second half of the 7th century.

Wikipedia – Mesarfelta

Castra Nova was a Roman-era city and diocese in Mauretania, Africa Proconsulare. The town is identified with the stone ruins at Mohammadia, Mascara in modern Algeria.

Only a few Roman ruins, dating from the 1st century AD, testified to an era when Castra Nova was once flourishing. Successively the city was reduced to nothing by the invasions of the Vandals and later of the Arabs.

Wikipedia – Castra Nova (Mauretania)

It inspires diagram maps with Roads that have generally “disappeared”.

There have been roads in this part of north Africa since very early times, and under the Roman Empire the country was provided with an adequate network of major highways, described in Vol. I (pp. 259-260, Fig. 46).

These have, in general, disappeared, though many traces remain, such as milestones, and in some places even stretches of pave.

Algeria – Vol II – May 1944
Naval Intelligence Division of the Admiralty

And most curious of all:

Roman North Africa inspires diagram maps without physical features.

Almost all Roman roads in Africa were built in the first two centuries AD.

Wikipedia – Roman Roads in Africa

Perhaps that’s because the current physical geography suggests the Romans were crazy.

Being prepared for a land attack across the salt marshes of the High Plains makes the Romans appear beyond borderline barking [mad].

The Hautes Plaines (High Plains), also known as Hauts Plateaux, is a steppe-like natural region located in the Atlas Mountains in northern Algeria. It stretches more than 600 km (370 mi) in an east northeast – west southwest direction from northeastern Morocco to the Aures. It is a high plateau area consisting of undulating, steppe-like alluvial plains lying between the Tell and Saharan Atlas ranges.

The Hautes Plaines region averages between 1,100 and 1,300 m in elevation in the west, dropping to 400 m in the east.

The climate is characterized by very dry summers and cold winters. Generally the climate is so dry that these plains are sometimes thought of as part of the Sahara.

Wikipedia – Hautes Plaines

Chott Ech Chergui is a large endorheic salt lake in Saïda Province, northwestern Algeria.

It is located at 34.35°N 0.5°E in the level terrain of the Hautes Plaines region between the Tell Atlas and the Saharan Atlas and is one of the largest lakes in Algeria.

Wikipedia – Chott Ech Chergui

The Saharan Atlas is a range of the Atlas Mountain System. It is located mainly in Algeria, with its eastern end in Tunisia. Although not as tall as the High Atlas of Morocco its summits are more imposing than the Tell Atlas range that runs parallel closer to the coast. The tallest peak in the range is the 2,236 m (7,336 ft) high Djebel Aissa in the Ksour Range.

Wikipedia – Saharan Atlas

Plus the scattered and distorted fragments of the Fossatum Africae [ditch] defences against an attack across the salt marshes suggest the Romans were happily howling at the moon.

Fossatum Africae (“African ditch”) is a linear defensive structure (limes) claimed to extend over 750 km (470 mi) or more in northern Africa constructed during the Roman Empire to defend and control the southern borders of the Empire in Africa.

There is only a single mention of the Fossatum (as such) in historical literature prior to the 20th century.

This occurs in a letter written by the co-emperors Honorius and Theodosius II to Gaudentius, the vicarius Africae, in 409, and preserved in the Codex Theodosianus. Noting that the fossatum had been established by the “ancients”, the emperors warned the Roman citizens of Africa that if they did not maintain the limes and fossatum then the job (with associated land rights and other advantages) would be given to friendly barbarian tribes.

Consequently, it is not known with certainty when the Fossatum was constructed.

Of course, a structure of this size would be the work of centuries, and the archaeological excavation of the many forts and towns along its route has yielded many dates from the reign of Hadrian in the 2nd century to Constantine in the 4th century.

Having been built in an arid region of strong winds and blowing sand, the Fossatum quickly eroded and only traces remain.

Wikipedia – Fossatum Africae

Chott Melrhir also known as Chott Melghir or Chott Melhir is an endorheic salt lake in northeastern Algeria.

Wikipedia – Chott Melrhir

In an unexpected outbreak of honesty Wikipedia confirms academic thinking hasn’t advanced since 1949.

Tobna (Ṭubna), also known by the ancient names of Tubunae or Thubunae, is a ruined former city in Batna Province of Algeria, located just south of the modern city of Barika. … Jean Baradez’s aerial surveys in Algeria, published in 1949, provided the first aerial images of the site.

Wikipedia – Tobna

Current opinion has not advanced since the discussion by Baradez in 1949, who concluded that construction probably began after the first visit of Hadrian to Africa in 122 (and before or after his second visit in 128).

Wikipedia – Fossatum Africae

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent agency of the United States government that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering.

The NSF was established by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950. Its stated mission is “To promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense.” The NSF’s scope has expanded over the years to include many areas that were not in its initial portfolio, including the social and behavioral sciences, engineering, and science and mathematics education. The NSF is the only U.S. federal agency with a mandate to support all non-medical fields of research.

Wikipedia – National Science Foundation

Post-Normal techniques became dominant [and entrenched] during the 1950s as direct government funding [and control] directed education and scientific research.

Malaga Bay – Inventions and Deceptions: Post-Normal Science

However, there are clues for solving the Fossatum Africae puzzle.

1) Similarities between the Fossatum Africae and Hadrian’s Wall suggest it’s part of the defences designed to protect a strategic shipping lane like the Doggerland outflow.

This conclusion is based on the similarities with Hadrian’s Wall in Britain and with what is known about Hadrian’s concern to protect the Empire. Baradez also postulated a pulse of construction during the reign of Gordian III in the 3rd century, and finally abandonment of the Fossatum in 430–440 after the Vandal invasion.

Wikipedia – Fossatum Africae

In this configuration the chains of forts were on opposite banks of the Doggerland outflow.

The Roman forts at Bertha and Grassy Walls were on opposite banks of the outflow.

Perth was on the Western side of the Doggerland outflow.

Scone was on the Eastern side of the Doggerland outflow.

The destruction of the Doggerland configuration at the Arabian Horizon [centred 637 CE] was the next step towards creating today’s Scotland.

Malaga Bay – Shaping Roman Scotland

2) It’s very unlikely the network of generally “disappeared” Roman Roads breached the Fossatum Africae [and associated limes] to cross the Chott el Djerid salt marsh.

Chott el Djerid … is a large endorheic salt lake in southern Tunisia. The name can be translated from the Arabic into English as “Lagoon of the Land of Palms”.

Wikipedia – Chott el Djerid

3) The “peculiar insularity” of the Maghrib suggests it’s unlikely the Romans created a “continuous coastal highway” stretching “from the Atlantic to the Nile”.

The Maghrib was characterized by a peculiar insularity that created an unusual dialectic between it and the rest of the Mediterranean, an insularity whose effects can be witnessed in typically recurrent patterns found in its history during the pre-modern age.

A Peculiar Island: Maghrib and Mediterranean – D. Shaw Brent
Mediterranean Historical Review – Volume 18 – 2003 – Issue 2

Almost all Roman roads in Africa were built in the first two centuries AD. … Emperor Claudius then restored and widened a Carthaginian trail and extended it west and east. This way the Romans created a continuous coastal highway stretching for 2,100 miles from the Atlantic to the Nile.

Wikipedia – Roman Roads in Africa

4) The network of Roman Roads in Algeria and Tunisia are bounded in the South by the Hodna Lineament and South Atlas Fault.

Chott Melrhir also known as Chott Melghir or Chott Melhir is an endorheic salt lake in northeastern Algeria.

It [is] the westernmost part of a series of depressions, which extend from the Gulf of Gabès into the Sahara.

They were created between [the] Miocene and Early Pleistocene as a result of compression accompanying the formation of the Atlas Mountains.

With the maximum area of about 6,700 km2 (2,600 sq mi), Chott Melrhir is the largest lake in Algeria. It lies almost entirely below the sea level and contains the lowest point in Algeria, −40 meters (−130 feet).

Wikipedia – Chott Melrhir

The folded Hodna Mountains and the associated series of saline lakes very clearly indicate the natural catastrophe that destroyed Beni Hammad involved uplifting and distorting the land and seabed around the Hodna Lineament and South Atlas Fault.

Malaga Bay – Sacking Beni Hammad

5) A land bridge once connected North Africa to Europe.

Malaga Bay – Crashing Carthage

6) North Africa has experienced a 48° clockwise rotation.

Ptolemy’s North Africa becomes far more familiar when it’s Western coastline is subjected to a 48° [clockwise] Senegal Swing.

Malaga Bay – The Senegal Swing

If the 48° clockwise rotation of North Africa [aka The Senegal Swing] is reversed then the Beni Hammad mosque would be very much closer to it’s correct alignment.

Malaga Bay – Sacking Beni Hammad

Taken together these clues suggest the power and prestige of Carthage stemmed from the Carthage Channel that separated Carthage from the Fair Promontory.

The Pyrgi Tablets (dated c. 500 BCE) are three golden plates inscribed with a bilingual Phoenician–Etruscan dedicatory text.

They may relate to Polybius’s report (Hist. 3,22) of an ancient and almost unintelligible treaty between the Romans and the Carthaginians, which he dated to the consulships of Lucius Junius Brutus and Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus (509 BC).[citation needed]

Polybius – The Histories – Book III – 22.3

I give below as accurate a rendering as I can of this treaty, but the ancient Roman language differs so much from the modern that it can only be partially made out, and that after much application, by the most intelligent men.

The treaty is more or less as follows:

“There is to be friendship between the Romans and their allies and the Carthaginians and their allies on these terms:

The Romans and their allies not to sail with long ships beyond the Fair Promontory unless forced by storm or by enemies: it is forbidden to anyone carried beyond it by force to buy or carry away anything beyond what is required for the repair of his ship or for sacrifice, and he must depart within five days.

en coming to trade may conclude no business except in the presence of a herald or town-clerk, and the price of whatever is sold in the presence of such shall be secured to the vendor by the state, if the sale take place in Libya or Sardinia.

If any Roman come to the Carthaginian province in Sicily, he shall enjoy equal rights with the others.

The Carthaginians shall do no wrong to the peoples of Ardea, Antium, Laurentium, Circeii, Terracina, or any other city of the Latins who are subject to Rome.

Touching the Latins who are not subjects, they shall keep their hands off their cities, and if they take any city shall deliver it up to the Romans undamaged.

They shall build no fort in the Latin territory.

If they enter the land in arms, they shall not pass a night therein.”

The “Fair Promontory” is that lying in front of Carthage to the North.

To Carthage itself and all parts of Libya on this side of the Fair Promontory, to Sardinia and the Carthaginian province of Sicily the Romans may come for trading purposes, and the Carthaginian state engages to secure payment of their just debts.

The phrasing of this treaty shows that they consider Sardinia and Libya as their own, whereas they distinctly express themselves otherwise about Sicily, mentioning only in the treaty those parts of it which are under Carthaginian rule.

Similarly, the Romans include in the treaty Latium alone, making no mention of the rest of Italy as it was not then subject to their authority.

Published in Vol. II of the Loeb Classical Library edition 1922-7*.html

After the Arabian Horizon the surviving Etruscans agreed a non-aggression pact with the Carthaginians in 661 CE i.e. 509 BC + 1,170 years = 661 CE.

Malaga Bay – The Classical Latin Continuity Kludge

In other words:

Fossatum Africae isn’t Roman.

Fossatum Africae is Carthaginian.

But, as always:

Review the available evidence and reach your own verdict.

This entry was posted in Arabian Horizon, Books, Geology, Hecker Horizon, Heinsohn Horizon, History, Inflating Earth, Language, Latin Languages, Roman Chronology, Science, Spain, Uniformitarianism. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The African Ditch

  1. Patrick Donnelly says:

    Every ‘Salt Lake’ is evidence of a past tsunami.

  2. This link here gives some idea of the changes in the Med.

    What is not considered is that there were big abrupt changes. So what is recorded from satellite data are the long stretches of quiet moments. The recorded ones are however of 7 to 5ky ago, not recent. Travels in the Med in the last two millennia attest to the late geological formation.

  3. THX1138 says:

    Do you have any idea what happened to Louis Hissink? has been deleted with no warning.

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