Hershel Shanks

Like many Punic cities, Kerkouane was a multicultural community—with residents from Greece, Etruria, North Africa and the Levant. This ethnic diversity is reflected in the city’s walls, which show the influence of Assyrian, Phoenician and North African masonry. One telltale sign of Phoenician architecture, in Africa as well as in the Near East, is a wall style called opus Africanum, in which upright pillars (orthostats) are separated by sections of wall made of smaller, shaped stones (see photo of wall made from shaped stones) and rubble fill (shown here).