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    New Archeological Discoveries Found on Traces of Ancient Fish Salting Port of Lixus

    The archeological discovery is part of a four-year Moroccan-Spanish research program that aims to determine the breadth of fish production in an ancient Roman industry.

    11 Aug 2022

    Casablanca - A Moroccan-Spanish team has just relaunched new excavations of the greatest Roman antiquity fish salting unit in Morocco's Lixus, near Larache city, expanding on a previous digging that was initiated in the area in 1930 and enlarged in 1960.

    The team, composed of roughly twenty members made up of Moroccan and Spanish researchers and Ph.D. students, was on-site between July 3 and 29, 2022. The excavations found two new basins on traces of the ancient fish salting port of Lexus, confirming the existence of the Roman Empire’s largest fish incubating factory in Morocco. The fish salting port is believed to date from the first century BC.

    Supervised by the National Institute of Archeology and Heritage and affiliated to the Ministry of Youth, Culture, and Communication, this Moroccan-Spanish program is a four-year project aimed at determining the scope of fish production in an ancient Roman factory that flourished between the fifth and first centuries BC., explained Kbiri Alaoui, professor at the National Institute of Archaeology and Heritage (INSAP) and co-director of archaeological excavations in Lixus.

    “It is a large industrial area built on 63 hectares and composed of 10 factories and 150 ponds. We have taken residues from one of the ponds and the results that will be revealed in the coming months will also give us an idea of the species of fish that existed at the time,” Alaoui added.

    If the existence of salting units was already known, he argued, the finding of two new basins will provide more indications of the existence of the port of Lixus.

    “The production of salted fish from these factories in Lixus was exported to several places in the world via the port. When we find the traces of the port it will be a very important discovery and will lift the curtain on the extent of this salting factory,” Alaoui explained.

    He noted that the next excavation campaign will take place at the end of September or the beginning of October.

    The team’s goal will be to conduct geophysical investigations, while morphological studies to understand the relationship between salting sites and the Loukos River will have already begun.

    “This will allow us once again to find the remains of the port and to appreciate the extent of the fish curing industry of Lixus,” he concluded.


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