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In January, she caught someone from the town attempting to dig up a mosaic and ceramics from a Roman site that contains a church.Matthew Hobson of the UK-based Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa project, said multiple factors need to be taken into account when it comes to protecting heritage sites from theft, which is often driven by poverty and political instability.Your friends and even people nearby might visit your profile, rate your photos and comment on your photos.Thanks to the mobile applications of Waplog in IOS and Android platforms, guys can chat with girls and girls can chat with boys in anywhere anytime.“It’s just pocket money, people sell things for less than they are worth,” he said.Abdelbaki Idoudi, a civil servant from Foussena, said the country’s unprotected artefacts are fair game and that citizens have the right to benefit from rogue archaeological digs.“It is kind of a virgin region,” said Shili, pointing out that his hometown of Thala alone has about 350 archaeological sites.
The issue was brought into the spotlight in 2011, when Tunisia’s ousted autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, currently exiled in Saudi Arabia, was sentenced to 35 years in prison in the first of several trials for a range of crimes, including possession of archaeological artefacts.“Especially, since we discovered pieces stolen from our (national) sites in the houses of Ben Ali and his family.” The western region of Kasserine, where the shrine of Sidi Boughanem is located, is one of the most marginalized parts of the country - with government figures showing about one in four people unemployed, far higher than the 15% unemployment rate for the country as a whole. There are four major sites located in an area of 8,000 square kilometers (3,000 square miles), and the land is peppered with architectural ruins and antique stones.Bigger sites are guarded around the clock, according to the INP, while less significant sites have security guards during the day.In 2017, the Tunisian authorities seized a rare 15th-century Torah scroll that they thought was being smuggled to Europe.More recently, in March customs seized 600 antique coins dating from the 2nd century from a car in the coastal town of Sfax.
When a new site is discovered, instead of guarding it or moving the artefacts to somewhere secure, “the state documents it, they take photos and then they put the earth back over it”, Shili added.