Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tunisia in 1976

In the spring of 1976, I worked as a field assistant and interpreter (most of the people spoke some French) for Dr. J. Keith Rigby, Sr. in Tunisia. Keith was studying Permian biohermal reefs that outcropped in the mountains near the city of Medenine, but we had the opportunity to travel to a number of places in the country. The scenery was spectacular and the people were warm and friendly, always wanting to stop and visit with the odd Americans tromping around in the desert.

The village of Chenini built into the side of the hill.

Here I am with a group of children. They seemed to pop up out of nowhere. I could usually find a coin or piece of candy for them.

Taking the ferry across the Mediterranean to the Isle of Djerba, a popular tourist stop with spectacular white sand beaches.

A handsome young Tunisian boy; one of my many young friends while in the field. He is standing behind a block of sandstone that has Triassic vertebrate tracks all over it.

The open market in Medenine where you could find almost anything for sale.

A young mother at her home in Matmata, Tunisia, a town cut out of the loess deposits where the homes are carved down into the earth. After carving out a home in the loess, they would typically whitewash the walls.

The Roman coliseum at El Jem at sunset.

Detail of the coliseum arches at El Jem.

The Roman ruins at Karouan, Tunisia.

The town of Metameur, Tunisia.

Baskets of olives curing on a rooftop in the Djebel Tebaga hills west of Medenine, Tunisia.

Roman temple ruins at Gightes, Tunisia. While in the hills west of Medenine, we found old Roman quarries with marble columns partially formed, but still in the rock like the one seen below.

Partially formed column still in the old Roman quarry in the Djebel Tebaga.

The hills of Djebel Tebaga where we conducted our studies. The massive rock in the middle of this photo is a small fossil reef, called a bioherm, made up mostly of fossilized sponges. I am standing on a layer of sandstone that laps up onto the fossil reef.

Me climbing out of our field vehicle. The little Renaut got us around very well on the less than ideal roads of the Tunisian countryside.

Trace fossils on a sandstone from the Djebel Tebaga hills.

Photo of me on the outcrop in the Djebel Tebaga, wearing my Camp Loll, BSA T-shirt and probably pretending to know what I was looking at.

My mentor and friend, Keith Rigby, not in Tunisia, but sitting on the lawn at a home in Gunlock, Utah where we were running the BYU field camp one season.


Dave H. said...

Great photos. Looks like you got to see a lot in Tunisia.

Damien Slattery said...

What a wonderful article!