Madghacen

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Madghacen (also known as Imedghassen, Medracen, and Madghis): royal tomb of an unknown Numidian king.

The Madghacen mausoleum

The royal tomb at Madghacen is a large, circular construction. Essentially, it is a very, very large bazina: the circular tumuli that were, in ancient times, common along the edges of the desert. They can be found as far east as the Al-Ula oasis in what is now called Saudi-Arabia. In those artificial hills, the chamber itself is in the center, and Madghacen is no exception.

The mausoleum, the oldest in the Maghreb, is surrounded by sixty columns of the Doric building order and has a diameter of 59 meters. It is about 18½ meters high. A radiocarbon date suggests that this monument was made for an unknown Numidian king who lived in the fourth century BCE.

The use of the Doric building order proves that the Numidians were among the early adapters of Hellenistic civilization. The Mausolée royal de Maurétanie near Iol Caesarea is a large copy of the monument at Madghacen.

This page was created in 2020; last modified on 24 March 2020.