Farès K Moussa
Farès has researched and published on Phoenician, Carthaginian, Roman and ancient Amazigh cultures in North Africa and the central Mediterranean; and on rock-art in North Africa and Saudi-Arabia.
He is especially interested in religious art, spectacle and the history of thought. Fares has led tours with Andante since 2006.
What first sparked your interest for archaeology?
I was always curious about the very enigmatic Punic iconography, of which I was aware ever since growing-up in Tunisia. But what I think really brought it to life for me, was while travelling around the south of France the summer before I started my anthropology undergraduate. I managed to contact the owners of the Trois-Frères Cave in the foothills of the Pyrenees, who kindly agreed to show me around. It was a warm and rainy afternoon; and we crawled through a narrow entrance to the cave. Being in there alone looking at the rock paintings in the silence with the occasional boom of thunder outside was just incredible.
If you can – which is your favourite archaeological site?
This is very very difficult to answer! So, I will confine it to three sites within my area of specialism: Lepcis Magna in Libya, for its seaside aspect and for the details, from the measuring units at the Punic market, through to the three granite columns out of some 40 which British Consul Hanmer Warrington had hand-picked and moved ready for transportation to the UK in 1816, but which remain abandoned on the beach. Dougga in Tunisia, because there is so much variety and - again - all the little details, from one of the only surviving standing Punic monuments in the world (albeit also once tampered with also at the hands of a British Consul!) to Roman marble games "boards" you find etched-out on the pavements. Finally, I have stood at the top of the 3,000-year-old Nuraghic steps of "sacred well" of Santa Cristina (one of many amazing sites in Sardinia) when the sunshine, having passed through a narrow aperture, then climbs up and then back down the inverted pyramidical steps of perfect ashlar construction -a wonder to see!
What does archaeology mean to you?
It is a way to understanding human thought and action. For this reason, I think it is most revealing and satisfying as part of an interdisciplinary approach alongside subjects like Anthropology, Philosophy, Art History and the History of Thought.