vrijdag 30 januari 2015



This place near Sidi Messaoud on the west-flank of the peninsula Tres Forcas was indicated by César Luis de Montalban on his map from 1932 as a finding place of Phoenician/Punic findings. There was no further specification available. Also R.Fernandez de Castro mentions the place in 1943 in the publication: “Historia y exploracion de las ruinas de Cazaza, villa del antiguo reino de Fez, emplazada en la costa occidental de la Peninsula de Tres Forcas. » Enrique Gozalbes Cravioto presents with his study: “Algunes Avatares de la Arqueologia colonial en el norte de Marruecos (1939-1942) ». A study on the organisation of archaeology in the North of Morroco between the years 1939-42 as well as some incidences in the development of the same one. Also in the work the archaeological discoveries that are analyzed at the same time they became in Tanger. Still there are no specific references to Phoenician or Punic findings. Finally we find the publication of again Enrique Gozalbes Cravioto : “Notas sobre Cazaza, Puerto de Fez y Fortaleza Espanola (1506-1533)”  Cazaza was a medieval city that, during some thirty years in the XVI century, was occupied by the Spaniards. In this article he studied and interpreted the archaeological vestiges and add new data for their knowledge drawn from documentation not used until that time. Gozalbes speaks now only of a medieval city. After 1944 it seems that there were no further excavations.

I have a problem now, because there is the allegation of Montalban that there were Phoenician and Punic findings done, but later there comes no confirmation whatsoever! Luckily Enrique Gozalbes Cravioto (must be very old by now!) was willing to give an explanation, which I received yesterday:

“Hello, good afternoon, Mr. Henk van Diessen. I hope to answer as precisely as possible to your question. CL Montalbán explored the ruins of Cazaza in 1929. In its report noted the appearance of "Punic and Roman pottery" in a certain amount. What Montalbán understood by Punic pottery? The distinction between the Punic and Roman layers was undoubtedly evident to him because he had dug in deep layers of Lixus, but I'm not entirely sure.
Yes it is entirely true that in later works, from the forties, the appearance of Campanian pottery and Roman sigillata reflected and Spanish coins minted at least in the first century BC. On my visit there many years ago I observed the presence of fragments most likely common Roman pottery, as well as three fragments of Roman sigillata. Thus, the presence of occupation is undeniable since the first century BC. A  former presence is plausible, but nothing is certain. Montalbán did not invent data, but could have made mistakes, and therefore we should be cautious about their findings.
I hope this answer will be useful.
Yours sincerely”

I hope I translated the Spanish from Gozalbes to decent English, but his view is clear. There was a Roman settlement in the 1st century BC at Cazaza. The findings of Montalban must be treated cautious. So we are not sure of a Phoenician or Punic settlement at Cazaza. However, after 1944 there was no thorough excavation done. Still much work to do here.

The distance between Melilla and the next great harbour Al-Hoceima is c.100 km. That is normally too long to do it in one day (and night). Therefore a port of call in between somewhere must have been there. Cazaza, Aazanèn or Sidi-Amar-ou-Moussa are the most probable options.

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