Ali Guerbabi is the chief archeological district of Batna, archaeologist, Timgad is his passion and his way of the cross, the challenge of Homeric battles against stupidity and ignorance and disregard for the laws that are supposed to protect the archaeological heritage. If it was not his indefatigable stubbornness, a long time ago that everything would have been decimated. Lusts are still there, on the lookout. Yet Timgad is classified “World Heritage of Humanity”.
“It’s exactly 19 centuries old and one year old,” says Guerbabi, who guides us in a moving visit, pathetic to say anything. Visit of the museum, closed in recent years due to looting that the security situation has facilitated. To his detractors Mr. Guerbabi replies, “I am here to preserve and not to squander”.
He is really sad when he shows us the walls inflated by water infiltration. Shared punishment for the spectacular mosaics worked, too, by the wear. Exceptional works, carved tesselle by tesselle, by artists mosaic numides who, in the heart of Roman art, have produced their own themes.
Unique pieces, delicate, exuberant harmonious geometric patterns. Among the most famous, Neptune driving his chariot, Venus riding a marine centaur, Diane surprised by Actéon’s bath.
Emergency reported to restore them! Otherwise, the museum is full of other valuable items,
sculptures, bas-reliefs, steles, ceramics, pottery, bronzes, coins, fibulae, glassworks. Mr. Guerbabi trembles a little, moved when he speaks of his ruins.
The wind rises, he hides behind a column to relight his pipe, swallows his saliva and his
rage but continues the visit. We enter Thamugadi, as we enter a sacred place. A curious impression assails you, almost the desire to remove his shoes and to walk feet naked on these paved streets.