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You can text like SMS and talk to anyone nearby easily. FOUSSANA, Tunisia (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Standing near the shrine of the Sufi saint Sidi Boughanem in western Tunisia, Karim points to the earth below his feet. “We started digging, but we had to stop because someone called the police.” At the foot of a mountain covered with Roman villas and antique olive oil factories, the shrine sits atop buried structures and catacombs that date back to the Roman and Byzantine periods.
More recently, in March customs seized 600 antique coins dating from the 2nd century from a car in the coastal town of Sfax.But he also attributed the increase in recovered objects to the fact that the authorities are getting more serious about tackling the illicit antiquities trade.“It might have been partly to do with state interests,” said Jrad.In January, she caught someone from the town attempting to dig up a mosaic and ceramics from a Roman site that contains a church.Matthew Hobson of the UK-based Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa project, said multiple factors need to be taken into account when it comes to protecting heritage sites from theft, which is often driven by poverty and political instability.
Objects of significant historical and cultural value often end up on the European market and in the homes of Tunisia’s rich and powerful, he explained.