Moroccan capital rebuilds, uncovers past





Morocco's capital Rabat is rebuilding its seafront and in so doing uncovering a vast treasure trove of relics, artefacts and ruins.


"We have made some fantastic discoveries not only for the history of Rabat but of the kingdom," said archaeologist and historian Mohammed Essemmar.


Essemmar, 43, heads the heritage department of the agency in charge of redeveloping the Bouregreg valley, a watercourse linking the twin cities of Rabat and Sale.


Roman columns and capitals, 12th-century enclosing walls, Islamic ceramics and coins have emerged from the sands.


The prize discovery in the 2,500 square-metre (27,000 square feet) site is the enclosing wall of the Tachfin "ribat,"or military camp, attached to the Oudayas casbah, dating from the 12th century and completed during the brief reign of Almoravid dynasty King Tachfin ben Ali (1143-1145).


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