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Title: Chemtou  
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Subject: Water turbine, List of ancient watermills, Watermill, List of Roman bridges, Jendouba Governorate
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View of Jebel Chemtou

Chemtou or Chimtou is an ancient site in northwestern Tunisia, located 20 km from the city of Jendouba, near the Tunisian-Algerian border. It was known as Simitthu (or Simitthus in Roman period) in antiquity.


Founded as a Numidian colony in 4th to 5th century BC, it later became a Roman town in the province of Africa. It was important enough to become a bishopric, before its eventual abandonment around 9th to 10th century.


It lies at the crossroad of two major highways: the one that connects Carthage and Hippo Regius (today Annaba), and the one that connects Thabraca (today Tabarka) and Sicca (today El Kef). The town is known for its quarries, where one of the most precious types of marbles in the Roman Empire, the antique yellow marble (marmor numidicum or giallo antico), was exploited.

With its ruins dating from over a period of 1,500 years, the site covers over 80 hectares of area pending further excavations. After being partially excavated in late 19th century, a series of excavations carried out since late 1960s by a Tunisian-German archaeological team has uncovered new parts of the city, as well as the Roman road connecting it to Thabraca for the purpose of transporting marbles to the Mediterranean Sea. The excavated ruins are typical of Roman cities with temples, baths, an aqueduct, an amphitheatre, and housing for quarry workers whose number may exceed a thousand. The Chemtou Museum displays artifacts discovered in the area.

Ecclesiastical history

The bishopric of Simitthu, no longer a residential see, is included in the Catholic Church's list of titular sees.[1]


  1. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 973

External links

  • Museum and ancient site of Chimtou
  • Webpage about Chemtou
  • Anotherebpage about Chemtou (in German)
  • Roman mills of Chemtou and Testour (in German)

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