The Continuing Usefulness of Spolia, I: The French in Algeria from 1830


Les Arabes ne travaillent en fait de fortifications ni pour élever ni pour détruire, ce n’est ni dans leurs idées ni dans leurs habitudes; ils ne comprennent pas l’avantage d’une position fortifiée dans laquelle pour rien au monde ils ne voudraient s’enfermer. Enfin faute des outils nécéssaires la destruction du fort très important que j’avais élevé devenait impossible de leur part pendant la durée de l’expédition[1]


In spite of incursions and trading by Turks, English, French and Spanish, the French were the first since Justinian seriously to contemplate the conquest, occupation and colonisation of large tracts of North Africa, which was sufficiently unknown in the early 19th century for there to be an Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa (which publish Burckhardt's Travels in Syria). Contemplated at least as early as 1802[2], unfortunately the whole affair was badly planned, and in some respects not planned at all. Military leaders, unsure of their ultimate objectives, and far too thinly spread, did their work against a barrage of continual sniping from Paris. Whilst the settled Arabs were often friendly, the wild, tribal Kabyles continued to fight, and in a fashion to which the French were not accustomed - so that we find six pages of a 15-page Notice sur les montagnes Kabyles entre Collo et Bougie[3] dedicated to explaining why the very lack of roads was un puissant moyen de défense pour les tribus dans leur inimitié réciproque, and then enumerating the mere tracks the French would need to use to get near to them. Again, they had to cope with a difficult climate, lack of water, very poor communications, and many health problems. The expedition consumed enormous resources, because they had to take or build everything they needed - ovens, mills, hospitals, abbatoirs, bridges, barracks, machinery. Help from the Roman remains and infrastructure was welcome not least because their use and restoration saved money, time and human resources. As one Engineer Captain remarked in 1837 in semi-apology for allowing archaeology to bulk so large in  a military report, strategy had been little changed by weaponry, and an appreciation of the sites occupied by the Roman army was still very useful.[4]  Indeed, the French felt fellowship with their antique predecessors because they were fighting the same enemy on the same ground, and much in the same manner using the same infrastructure.


Napoleon’s famous comment to his troops at the Pyramids about history looking down upon them sounded grand, and there were similar parallels made in North Africa which were inevitable, but both desirable and invidious. The French were the new Romans, or so they believed, and using Roman forts, roads, bridges, way-stations. Such parallels were desirable because France, like Rome, was an Empire, and needed room to expand, tgaking over from the declining Turkish Empire. The Ministry of War was kept informed of the re-use of Roman forts, roads and town walls during the conquest, and evidently approved[5]. Soldiers wrote local histories, and these are preserved in the archives.[6] But comparisons with the antique past were also invidious because of the hugely different time-scale involved, the lack of military colonisation, and the complete absence of the citizenship setup which the Romans used to buy and promote security.[7] However, like the Romans again, the French believed that the past could teach them for the future. Capitaine C. Martin, for example, wrote an Histoire de la subdivision de Sétif[8] for the General Inspection of 1852, and noted that he had done so (and wished that other subdivisions would follow suit) in order that officers would have the facts before their eyes, de s'emparer du passé de la subdivision pour concourir au progrès du présent.


For the French, there were no Middle Ages in North Africa – nothing of interest to them between the Romans and Byzantines on the one hand, and the present day on the other.[9] They believed that the North Africans were not fortress-builders or really city-dwellers, although they did in fact reuse Byzantine fortresses, concentrated new fortress-building on the more vulnerable coastline[10], at the same time as developing a prosperous civilization[11]. This same fairy-tale quality of freshness and survival had also impressed El Bekri when he visited El Mogheira, near Bone, where solid monuments still stood firm, and churches preserved their marble revetments, as if the workmen had only just left. [12] Eight hundred years later, the French would make use of these ample Roman remains, which they needed because (unlike the Kabyles) they fought in a manner that required roads, canals, anchorages and fortresses. Conveniently, the French took over the Roman infrastructure, even if parts of some roads needed re-routing because French artillery could not manage the steep Roman slopes. Also, they quickly realised that the spread of ruins meant settlement patterns much more intense (and hence better communications and water supply) than in the 19th century[13], And therefore great possibilities for development. (Had they studied their own archives, they would have known that the same conclusion had been reached over a century previously.[14]) They were surprised to find themselves using Roman roads for their transport, but were in fact following in a long tradition: when Musa ibn Nusayr invaded Spain in 711/713, he did so on the Roman roads – and, indeed, there are Roman roads in Spain known to us only from Arab authors.[15] And the Spanish in North Africa in the 16th century were well aware of such roads, and remarked upon them[16]. Hence it is not surprising to find in Spain[17] the same horizons of reuse as in France or Italy. Again Leo Africanus identifies such roads from their characteristics, which he recognises from his travels in Italy[18].


The fit, in terms of attitudes to the ancient monuments, between the Western mediaeval situation and that of the French in Algeria, is not of course ideal, but gives us the best idea we can gain of what might have happened in earlier centuries (much helped by the truly monumental scale of the French 19th century army paperwork). There are three stages: military, the campaign for early colonization, and then civil growth.


First, the military stage. From 1830, there are signs of systematic scavenging for spolia. The military generally looked with a kind eye on the Roman remains of the country, because these were their meal ticket, and a very present help in trouble: against marauding bands of mounted Arabs, they needed Roman roads to move their artillery; Roman bridges[19] for the torrential streams, Byzantine forts (built usually on top of Roman ones) for security and signalling (and the French made a bee-line for these, in spite of disadvantages[20]). They made straight rebuilds of late antique enceintes, as at Bougie[21]; or simply made good as at Sétif.[22] Roman cisterns and fountains[23] served to supply the troops in the brutal climate; and, above all, the evidence of abundant Roman occupation in areas now semi-desertified was used to convince Paris and themselves that it was all worthwhile. (The French were still studying Roman hydraulics in 1964, with exactly the same aims in view[24].) But military occupation always entailed destruction. At Bougie, for example, an early account remarks on the losses the town has endured to secure a field of fire for the reduced enceinte - and because of  ce penchant pour la destruction que l'on rencontre chez presque tous nos soldats. [25]


Why were they there? Not for war, but for peace: c’est une marche des légions romaines à travers l’Afrique; c’est la civilisation qui vient policer les barbares[26] – indeed, cette croisade de la civilisation contre la barbarie[27]. The indigenous population was a problem, and believed to be in need of regeneration, which colonisation would achieve by providing a moral and civilising example.[28] They were the new Centurions; Rome had, indeed, returned to Africa (as the Italians were to proclaim a century later[29]); and they invaded Algeria with copies of the ancient historians in their knapsacks, some of these specially produced for the troops, and to be read in leisure moments in garrison or bivouac. Typical of the genre is Dureau de la Malle, L’Algérie: Histoire des guerres des Romains, des Byzantins et des Vandales, (Paris 1852),  and subtitled Manuel Algérien. It gets straight to the point on the first page: Examen des moyens employés par les Romains pour la conquête et la soumission de l’Afrique Septentrionale, and then after ten pages moves on to Sallust Jugurtha. Such handbooks generally ignored the fact (later to be admitted) that the original Romanisation of North Africa hovered between a myth and a complete failure. The context in which they fought, their paragone, was a Roman context – and the Romans took 240 years to conquer Africa. A spin-off from the common classical education of soldier and politician is that it is abnormal, but not unknown, in the midst of letters from the Governor-General back to the Minister of War to find descriptions of antiquities, apparently for purely scholarly reasons, together with transcribed inscriptions[30]. Thus Lieut. Desmarets' Itinéraire de Medina à Bathna, of 1 October 1846, dwells on the ruins at Baghai, notes Peysonnel's identification of them in 1724, but malgré toutes les recherches que j'ai faites il m'a été impossible de découvrir aucune inscription, pourtant, comme la 3e Légion commandé par August, était établie à Tebessa, on serait tenté de croire que les villes et les postes qui couvrent le pays, étaient sous son commandement[31]. At Bougie, excavations as early as 1836 (only three years after the occupation of the site) discovered an inscription which allowed the antique site to be identified[32]. And E. de Neveu, in his Renseignemens statistiques sur la ville d'El Kantara has one page of the fifteen-page report dedicated to Historique: Concordance des itinéraires anciens avec l'emplacement des ruines actuelles, whilst concluding his accompanying letter to the Duc d'Aumale with the message conveyed by the omnipresence of the Roman remains: Héritier de leur pouvoir, qui sait si la Providence n'a pas permis que les ruines de leurs établissements restâssent à la surface du sol pour nous servir de jalons et nous indiquer sans recherches pénibles et souvent inutiles les lieux où d'un seul bond nous devons nous poser nous-mêmes pour travailler à l'oeuvre civilisatrice qu'elle nous a donné mission d'accomplir dans ce Pays?[33]  The parallel question was still being asked in 1856: Pourquoi …cette contrée, entre nos mains, ne deviendrait-elle pour nous ce qu'elle fût jadis pour nos devanciers?[34]


Inland the ruins remained in great quantity, whilst almost everything had vanished along the coasts. Thus a Historique de Djidjeli  (undated, perhaps 1842) has a substantial section on Roman roads, admires the enormous stone kerbs which some of them boasted; but deplores how in  that area so many have degraded, and been replaced by frequently impassable tracks. [35]


In the early years, there was a tendency, therefore, to make good what the Romans had left, to admire what the Romans had done, and to plan to do likewise – plans, even, to take members of the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres along on the reconnaissances, much as had happened earlier, to produce the Description de l’Egypte.[36] A powerful factor was cost: it cost the French 18.75 million francs for 1834 and 1835 alone, so it is not surprising that committee advice was to secure positions against native attacks, and put off les ouvrages de fortification régulière for the future.[37] - henced the prominence allotted to refurbishing Roman enceintes. There were also plenty of military who enjoyed antiquities, and enthusiastically set about the task of recording and collecting them together, as at Milianah[38]. Ironically, the French lived a more straightened existence than their Roman models; and therefore, just as with late Roman enceintes, the French ones are aften much smaller than their predecessors, and built with stones from the bigger brother, as at Tebessa[39], at Setif, where the French forces would eventually fill the Roman enceinte[40], at Medeah, where the spolia are re-used for extending the enceinte[41], at Bougie[42], or at Tlemcen[43]. The very best, such as the triumphal arch at Setif, was projected by the Duc d’Orleans for Paris, when the area was conquered in 1838.It was to have been erected in Paris, but transport difficulties made this impossible. Similar to thededications on the Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile, its inscription would have read L’Armée d’Afrique à la France.[44]


This first stage of French occupation is elastic in date, depending on the area of the country, and the date of its conquest. In the province of Constantine, for example, Lieut Demesmay in 1847 can still judge[45] the site of the old Roman fort at K'sour as worthy of reoccupation, with good wood and water, and plenty of building stone. At El Kantara itself, the bridge is Roman, is solid enough for artillery, and needs only a little work on the parapet. At Setif, praised for its fine and abundant water, they will search for more Roman water conduits as the population grows.[46] At Bougie, Lieut. Sarrette  observes that antique prosperity has left its traces which are still to be discerned on the once-beautiful gardens of the plain, and the canals which fed them.[47]


The second stage was the developmental building stage, when the Roman monuments began to suffer serious damage. Given the enormous costs of quarrying, in investment and manpower, Roman walls and ruins were simply too convenient to leave alone, because they were so thick and high that they could provide materials for whole cities. What is more, the Engineers soon began to consider fortification against European powers, rather than simply defence against the local Arabs. Captain de Neveu's assertion that Constantine was fine comme une ville d'Afrique placée au milieu de populations qui ne possèdent pas d'artillerie, but not against European weaponry,[48] is typical, and spelled the death through insufficiency of surviving Byzantine or vandal enceintes. Above the voices of those who believed that establishment in Africa was impossible because of cultural differences, others pointed to the once-rich, now semi-desertified territories, and planned experimental farms[49]. Yet others pointed to the waste of money on military operations, including building, pointing to the need for true centuriation[50] on the Roman model: Si depuis huit ans vous aviez depense en colonisation militaire la moitie de ce que vous ont coute vos troupes en Afrique, vos travaux de fortifications, vos expeditions ruineuses et steriles, vous aviez deja une vaste province a vous et bien a vous[51]. In a country with transportation problems and labour shortages, re-using Roman remains was the obvious course of action, as at Guelma in the early 1840s, when a reconnaissance finds at Mda-Ouroch some 28 hectares of ruins, including a temple, and a small fort built over a theatre: son assiette conviendrait parfaitement à l’établissement d’une ville Européenne. Les matériaux propres aux constructions tels que pierres de taille, moellons, pierre à chaux, y sont très abondants - and with the Roman road from Carthage to Sirta passing close by.[52] And at Setif, in the 1840s, planting colons was thought possible only because of the protection afforded by the Roman fort and its materials, which now begin to get reused as spolia at an increasing rate.[53] Such exploitation of the remains was systematic for several decades, until better counsels prevailed. For example, the materials of the Roman baths at Guelma were being used to repair the walls, and it was projected to incorporate them in the enceinte[54] (a familiar echo of late antique walls!) following an 1845 recommendation to use the line of the Roman enceinte as much as possible, dont les fondations au moins serviront, et produiront une économie en donnant plus de solidité aux nouvelles constructions, with the Roman towers to be used as silos[55].


It was during the third stage that very serious problems began for the ancient monuments, and laws became necessary to protect them. The frequently disparaged[56] French colons practised large-scale robbing and lime-making, probably because they knew no better, and because spolia were better and cheaper than quarrying and transport. The depradations are amply documented, not least by the laws enacted to try and stop it. By 1845 important monuments had been lost: Ce mot de barbarie que nous prodiguons aux arabes, on pouvait dans l’avenir nous le renvoyer avec juste raison, à nous qui faisons profession d’etre une nation lettrée, et qui avons plus détruits en dix ans de monuments antiques que les arabes en deux siècles. [57] People who should have known better were targetting yet more[58]. Problems subsisted into this century, with the Navy Engineer at Algiers pointing out in 1908 the need to demolish the Porte des Lions (a classified site) to build barracks for sailors[59], and the refrain without archaeological value being overused as an alibi for destruction[60]. There were similar problems in Tunisia, as we gather from Saladin’s excellent census of 1886[61]. And just as Caylus’ Recueil d’Antiquités in 18th-century France depended for many of its discoveries on the work of the Ponts et Chaussées, so colonisation in Algeria acted as a kind of vacuum-cleaner for the archaeologists, revealing and (if they were quick enough) preserving antiquities.[62] As for the thirst for antiquities and marble in France, this simply continued, with Paris calling for antiquities just as she had earlier done from the monuments of Provence, and then from all around the Mediterranean (brought back on Royal ships), whether for building materials, or for stocking museums. But attitudes did not generally improve with time, as Ginther observes for Sétif .[63] After quoting what the 1872 French Commission would do to building for the colons at Bordj-el-Arreridj, namely that les ruines de la ville romaine pourraient donner des matériaux tout préparés, he concludes quite correctly that Partout, donc, ou une ville européenne s'est bâtie sur l'emplacement de la ville antique, les trouvailles archéologiques sont rares et tiennent du miracle. Such depradations were partly counter-balanced by serious attempts to map and catalogue the monuments, frequently by as well as with the help of the French military. An illustrious name here is that of Colonel Carbuccia, who was instrumental in the systematic recording of material in the province of Batna[64]. His identification with his Roman predecessors strikes a romantic tone: out on campaign, and coming across a ruined tomb monument to a Roman centurion, he had his troops rebuild it, and then passed them in review in honour of their antique comrade - a tableau worth of Horace Vernet..


To pose the question about the influence of the Roman monuments of North Africa on the French is to suspect that the conquest of Algeria simply could not have taken place (or would have done so enormously more slowly) had the Roman infrastructure not been in place (just as it may be argued that General Roy’s work for the Ordnance Survey had military spin-offs for the pacification of Scotland, because he studied Roman techniques). Here again, in comparison with the Middle Ages in the West, and the Roman monuments, time is telescoped, so that we might imagine that one day Justinian left, and the next the French arrived. Undoubtedly, also, the sense of fraternity with their Roman forbears (as evinced by Carbuccia) was strongly felt thanks to the classical education of French officers, who had been brought up on the military tactics of the Romans, and had handbooks in their knapsacks giving the ancient authors and making explicit parallels with the modern situation: the French invasion was therefore easy to present as the triumph of a great Empire over native tribes - of civilization over barbarism, and a benison, not a rape. Were the French unusual in  the interest they took in the monuments of Algeria? Because they were the only ones to attempt the occupation of the interior, the question cannot fully be answered; but along the coasts, there is evidence that the Spanish took little interest in the past. At Bougie, for example, the French found plenty of granite and marble columns and capitals, some of them lying above ground[65], which the Spanish might easily have appropriated, but instead apparently ignored.




[1] Correspondance du Maréchal Clauzel, ed. G. ESQUER, 2 vols Paris 1948 & 1949 (Governor 1835-37); cf: I; p. 340; writing also to the Minister from Algiers on 14 December 1835;

[2] SHAT MR1313 item 5: 27th July 1802, General GOURGAUD, Projet d'expédition contre la Régence d'Alger;

[3] SHAT MR 1317, item 38, by Capitaine Fournier, 19 March 1845;

[4] SHAT 1H891, Capt. de Génie BOUTAULT, Mémoire militaire sur Bougie, 25 January 1837, p. 1;

[5] Correspondance du Maréchal Clauzel, cit. His eye is clearly on the use of spolia for fortification, at II.299, again writing to the Minister on 1st December 1836 about Guelma: Il reste à Guelma de nombreuses ruines de construction romaine, et notamment l’enceinte de l’ancienne citadelle est assez bien conservé pour permettre d’y établir en toute sûreté contre les Arabes un poste militaire;

[6] e.g. SHAT MR1317, item 57, Lieut L. H. BARTEL, Etudes sur l'histoire de la ville de Bougie, July 1847;

[7] P.-A. FEVRIER, Approches du Maghreb Romain: Pouvoirs, Différences et Conflits, 2 vols, Aix-en-Provence 1989 & 1990, p. 84-9: Idéologies et dépassements, on 19th-century attitudes to Algeria. The parallels with what the Romans experienced are again underlined;

[8] SHAT MR 1317 item 83;

[9] J.-F. GUILLAUME, Les mythes fondateurs de l’Algérie Française, Paris 1992, pp. 43ff., 159ff., 187ff;

[10] N. DJALLOUL, Les installations militaires et la défense des côtes tunisiennes a la période moderne (XVI-XIXe), Memoire de D.E.A., Sorbonne- Paris IV, October 1982, p. 15, citing Marcais;

[11] F. LEMASSOU, Géographie urbaine du Maghreb Al-Aqsa d'après les voyageurs-géographes et les indices archéologiques (VIIe - Xve siècles), thesis, Sorbonne - Paris IV, n.d. (1980s?); S. M'GHIRBI, Les voyageurs de l'occident musulman du XIIe au XIVe siècles, Tunis 1996, pp. 128ff for their accounts of towns and their walls, concluding with pp. 141ff: Les villes: paramètre d'appréciation du pays;

[12] EL-BEKRI, Description, cit., p. 136;

[13] The idea is not new: Yaqubi, who visited the region south of Kairouan in 893AD, writes of une vaste région remplie de villes et de citadelles, but now half-desert. Cf. J. HOPKINS, Sousse et la Tunisie médiévale vues par les géographes arabes, Cahiers de Tunis, 8 (1960), pp. 83-96: cf. pp. 85ff;

[14] OMONT, Missions archéologiques, cit., 1037ff: Memoire by Le Maire, Consul at Tripoli, 1705-6, p. 1038: Leaving from the Gulf of Derna, and going into Cyrenaica, he remarks on the huge number of ruined cities, cisterns, castles etc., and concludes from these facts that ce pais la estoit fort peuplé…;

[15] P. SILLIERES, Les voies de communication de l’Hispanie méridionale, Paris 1990, 197. Not surprisingly, the toponyms are similar ton those found in Italy: estrada, carriera, via antigua (pp. 216ff);

[16] MARMOL, Affrica, cit., fol. 253r: Desde esta Ciudad hasta Costantina va un camino todo derecho y empedrado de grandes piedras negras, como los que se veen en Italia, y en Espana hechos por los Romano;

[17] CABALLERO ZOREDA & J. SANCHEZ SANTOS, Reutilizaciones, cit., for lists of reuse by type;

[18] LEO AFRICANUS, Description de l’Afrique, cit., p. 264: between Sucaicada and Constantine se void un chemin pavé de pierre noire, comme on en void aucuns en Italie, qui sont appellées Chemins de Rome, grand argument pour se persuader que cette cité [i.e. Sucaicada] ait été édifiée par les Romains;

[19] SHAT Génie Art.8.1, Philippeville (i.e. ancient Russicada), Carton 1: 1839-40, Mémoire sur les travaux à exécuter en 1839, p.4: La reconstruction du pont romain sur l’Oued-Beni-Melech est de toute nécéssité les piles du pont romain sont encore en tres bon état. On traverse actuellement l’Oued El Cantaa sur un pont romain qui a survécu au temps et qui ne demande qu’une légère réparation; – and two more Roman bridges to put right over ravines beyond Beni-Melech (p. 4);

[20] SHAT Génie 8.1, Guelma, Carton 1, 1837-47: Capitaine NIEL, Reconnaissances du Camp de Guelma, prefers Drean to Guelma, because Il eut donc bien mieux valu s’établir sur la route meme que d’aller chercher au loin des ruines qui d’ailleurs sont difficiles à défendre à cause de l’immense carrière qui est auprès et des tas de pierres derrière lesquels on peut s’embusquer à demi portée de fusil;

 [21] SHAT Génie art 8.1, Bougie, Carton 1: 1833-1840: cf. Apostilles du Directeur, Projets Généraux pour 1834, for rebuilding the whole of the Roman enceinte, as well as forts in the vicinity, and cisterns as well;

[22] SHAT Génie Art 8.1, Algérie, 1837-1840, Armée d’Afrique, Itinéraire de Sétif au Camp de Fondouck, p. 1: Sétif’s citadel n’est pas de première construction, elle a été relevée en partie avec des matériaux ayant déjà servi, l’enceinte est en belles pierres de taille qui toutes portent des trous de louves, les tours étant voûtées en briques. Ces voûtes n’existent plus;

[23] e.g. at Guelma: cf. SHAT Génie 8.1, Guelma, Carton 1: 1837-1847, Apostille Générale, projets pour 1845, p.2; and Projets pour 1850 and 1851, in Génie 8.1, Guelma Carton 2, for details of refurbishment for water and dry goods storage;

[24] J. BIREBENT, Aquae Romanae: recherches d’hydraulique romaine dans l’est algérien, Algiers 1964; he is also enthusiastic, p. 8, about reusing antique wells, run-offs, cisterns and canals where possible, because of the much lower cost;

[25] SHAT MR1317, DE MONTREDON, Notes sur la ville de Bougie, 5 April 1838, pp. 10-11;

[26] Journal des Débats, 31 October 1839; and then on 13 November 1839: “Trois mille français avaient pénétré là ou les Romains n’avaient jamais porté leurs aigles;

[27] P. GENTY DE BUSSY, De l’établissement des Français dans la Régence d’Alger, et des moyens d’en assurer la prospérité, Paris 1835, p. 6;

[28] SHAT MR 1317, item 48, Lieut. F. JANIN, 18 August, 1846, Dj. Bou-Thaleb/Setif: Itineraire de l'expedition … en Mai 1846, p.38;

[29] The first words of vol. I of  La formazione de l’Impero Coloniale Italiano, Milan 1938-9, are precisely Roma e ritornata in Africa;

[30] Correspondance du Maréchal Clauzel, cit.,  see the letter from the Goveror General, Tlemcen on 23 January 1836, with account of the Mascara Expedition, I, p. 423, which transcribes an inscription, and notes a usable Roman water conduit;

[31] SHAT MR1317, item 49, p.5;

[32] DE MONTREDON, Notes, cit., p. 1;

[33] SHAT MR1317, items 33 & 34, dated 2 April 1844; the same officer writes in much the same vein in his Renseignements statistiques du Biskra, ibid., item 32, with a final section  dedicated to Itinéraires anciens, Positions et noms modernes;

[34] SHAT MR1316 item 88, E. de MAGNY, 16 August 1851, Aperçu sur la sub-division de Tlemcen;

[35] SHAT MR 1317;

[36] G. ESQUER, Correspondance du general Drouet d’Erlon, Gouverneur-general des possessions françaises dans le nord de l’Afrique, 1834-35, Paris 1926. Letter of 24 February 1835, Minister of War to the Governor General;

[37] [LE DUC DECAZES, president], Procès-verbaux et rapports de la Commission nommée par le Roi le 7 juillet 1833, pour aller recueillir en Afrique tous les faits propre à éclaircir le gouvernement sur l’état du pays et sur les mesures que réclame son avenir, 2 vols, Paris 1834: cf. Séance 11 February 1834, p. 455;

[38] SHAT Génie 8.1, Milianah, Carton 1, 1840-1844: Mémoire sur la place de Miliana, [?1840], pp. 20-21;

[39] SHAT Génie art 8.2, Tebessa: Plan d’ensemble de la Place, 22 October 1856, shows the Roman enceinte with its towers, and the smaller French one projecting from it. The new enceinte is extended by 1896, and a railway line and station appear to the north;

[40] SHAT Génie Art. 8.1, Sétif: Carton 1: 1839-44 for the Byzantine enceinte, well under half the size of the Roman one. A report by Commandant NIEL, 30 May 1839, underlines that it would take 2-3 months to make the Byzantine enceinte good: On aurait à déplacer et à remonter sur le mur des pierres de dimensions énormes et qui exigeraient des chèvres sur des bigues et beaucoup de pinces de grandes dimensions;

[41] SHAT Génie Art. 8.1, Medeah, Carton 1: 1831-1844, Apostilles du Directeur, 1842, p.1: Si les matériaux dont on dispose le permettent Les parties neuves d’enceinte que l’on ferait se relieraient aux parties anciennes au moyen de murs en pierres sèches; and cf. the Etat Estimatif for 1843, p. 1;

[42] SHAT MR1317, item 3: LAPENE: Tableau historique, militaire, commercial et politique de Bougie, 1837, pp. 7ff;

[43] SHAT Génie Art. 8.1, Tlemcen: Carton 1: 1840-45, Projets pour 1843, Apostilles du Directeur, p.11:  en raison des maçonneries existantes que l’on peut utiliser;

[44] L.C. FERAUD, Histoire des villes de la province de Constantine, Constantine 1872, pp. 93ff;

[45] SHAT MR 1317, item 68, 11 December 1847: Mémoire sur l'itinéraire de Bathna a El Kantara, p.5;

[46] SHAT MR 1317, item 12, Lieut de FONTNOUVELLE,  Etudes sur la subdivision de Sétif, 3rd August 1850, p. 2;

[47] SHAT MR 1317, item 52, dated 19 April 1847: Travail topographique et militaire: environs de Bougie;

[48] SHAT MR 1317 item 24, p. 9;

[49] SHAT MR861, Histoire de l’Algérie, 2e partie: Occupation restreinte, depuis la Conquête jusqu’à la prise de Constantine, Sept 1830 a Oct 1837, p. 26: La richesse du sol de la Metedja, vaste plaine inculte depuis douze siècles, mais propre à beaucoup de production fait naître le projet d’y organiser une ferme experimentale;

[50] Perhaps first observed on  the ground around Carthage, by Falbe, Danish Consul-General: cf. SHAT MR 1675: Description du Plan de Tunis et de Carthage, MS 1832, fol.160v;

[51] Cited from De l’établissement des légions de colons militaires dans le Nord de l’Afrique, Paris 1838, by P. AZAN, editor, Par l’épée et par la chaume. Ecrits et discours de Bugeaud, Paris 1948, p.  54;

[52] SHAT Génie 8.1 for Guelma, Carton 1837-1847: Capitaine en Chef GRAILLET, Renseignements sur la Route de Guelma à Soukaras, 10 avril 1847, p. 2;

[53] SHAT Génie Art 8.1, Sétif: Carton 1: 1839-1840, Projets pour 1844, Apostilles du Directeur, Sétif, p.5: can house colons en conservant ainsi une plus grande partie de l’ancienne enceinte Romaine; building work in 1843 (Mémoires sur les projets pour 1843: Apostilles du Chef de Génie, Sétif, p. 5) found them taking old walls to build new: un mur en pierres de taille provenant des ruines Romaines et posées sans mortier; in 1847, the accounts show maçonnerie en pierres romaines prises sur place, but they are also cutting blocks at the local quarry;

[54] SHAT Génie 8.1, for Guelma; Carton 1, 1837-1847: cf. Mémoire pour les Projets pour 1847, p. 19; and Projets pour 1847: Apostilles du Directeur, pp. 9-11: he is ignoring current walls because on n’a pu se servir d’aucune partie des fondations pour les portions d’enceinte qui ont été nouvellement reconstruites;

[55] SHAT Génie 8.1 for Guelma, Carton 1, 1837-1847, Mémoire sur les Projets pour 1845, p. 5;

[56] T.R. Bougeaud, Correspondance générale, CAOM, Algérie, 18.M.1, letter of 28 June 1842: the colons make a lot of noise, no sense, and should be ignored;

[57] CAOM, 2N75, Arrêté of 12 October 1845: Texier writes in a gloss to the Minister of War, on 20 September 1847, in his Rapport sur les Monuments Historiques de l'Algérie, that: it is urgent through observation of the law, and through education, to prevent colons and contractors from pilfering monuments, and using spolia in modern constructions;

[58] CAOM 2N75, report by a M. Ville, aspirant ingenieur des mines, Province d’Oran, 27 June to 20 July 1846, concerning the ruins of the Roman town of Akbeil: Il serait facile de faire renaître la ville d’Akbeil – good position, good water which needs aqueducts repairing to get it to town: La pierre à bâtir ne manquera pas; le plâtre et le calcaire sont sur place. And cf. ibid., 55.S.1 (Monuments Historiques): Letter of 11 March 1921: a parcel of land near Zaouia Ben Zaroug classé dans le domaine de l’état, comme emplacement de ruines romaines.  M. Bonnel, architecte du Gouverneur General, finds that les débris de construction romaine existant sur l’immeuble n’offrent aucun intérêt au point de vue archéologique. This is convenient, as is (same liasse), 7 June 1892, in a search for building materials at Ain-Oulmen: a amené la découverte de plusieurs colonnes avec leurs stylobates, d’un travail assez grossier et sans intérêt au point de vue archéologique;

[59] CAOM 55.S.1 (Monuments Historiques) 31 March 1908;

[60] CAOM 55.SZ.1 (Monuments Historiques): Eugene KASS, reporting on a site at Bellaa, writes of the simplicity of the antique stones, the absence of columns and capitals, the mediocrity of the materials – it is a Roman country house, of which there are plenty. The letter was endorsed 13 August 1909 that les ruines mises à découvert d’ont pas d’intérêt archéologique spécial;

[61] H. SALADIN, Description des antiquités de la Régence de Tunis. Monuments antérieurs à la conquête arabe. Fasc I: Rapport de la Mission faite en 1882-3, Paris 1886, p. 225: J’ose attirer l’attention de Votre Excellence sur ces édifices [list of star sites] si intéressants et malheureusement destinés à être, dans les temps a venir, autant menacés par la colonisation, qu’ils le sont dans le temps présent par la barbare incurie des Arabes;

[62] CAOM (Aix-en-Provence), F80-1733: Leon RENIER, printed Instructions pour la Recherche des Antiquités en Algérie, Paris 1859, p.3: Il serait, du moins, possible de se procurer, sans frais, les monuments que le hasard, les progrès de la colonisation, les travaux publics et particuliers font tous les jours découvrir;

[63] P. GINTHER, L'occupation romaine de l'Afrique du Nord et la région de Setif, Constantine 1940, p. 7;

[64] P.-A FEVRIER, Approches du Maghreb Romain: Pouvoirs, Différences et Conflits, 2 vols, Aix-en-Provence 1989 & 1990. cf. I., 23-66 for a brief overview of Les étapes de la recherche: colonisation et connaissance;

[65] SHAT MR1317, item 3: LAPENE: Tableau historique, militaire, commercial et politique de Bougie, 1837, p. 3;