This partially excavated site is a Roman outpost founded in the 3rd century B.C. It served as the capital of the Roman province of Mauritania. It was also the capital of Idris I, founder of the Idrisid dynasty, who is buried in the nearby village of Moulay Idris.
Volubilis is famous for its mosaics and its bronze statues, but its medieval past is much less well known. In this lecture, Dr. Elizabeth Fentress, Archaeologist, Honorary Visiting Professor at University College London and creator of Fasti Online discusses findings from excavations carried out between 2000 and 2005 by the Moroccan Institut National des Sciences de l'Archéologie et du Patrimoine and University College London. Seeking to understand the medieval period, during which we know that Idris I, the founder of the Idrisid dynasty, was based at the site then known as Walili, the excavations revealed two remarkable building complexes, both of the late eighth century. One was a Berber town, with stone-built, rectangular houses, and the other the headquarters of Idris, composed of large courtyard structures built around one of the earliest bath buildings, or hammams, in North Africa. This podcast describes the excavations in detail, and concentrates on the differences between those two communities.
The lecture, part of the Languages & Societies in the Maghrib lecture series, was recorded for the Centre d'Études Maghrébines en Algérie (CEMA) in Algiers, Algeria on 12 September 2017.