Following the rescue excavation of part of the Roman cemetery and a Roman mausoleum (Site 200) on Dhahret Slama, on the SE edge of the ancient town of Leptiminus on the east coast of Tunisia, the continued pressure of modern building led to the discovery of a remarkably well preserved underground burial-complex, as well a considerable extension of the above-ground cemetery which we had previously sampled. The underground burial-complex includes a number of tunnels and chambers, undoubtedly part of a much larger area of catacombs. These underground structures are cut into the sandstone and limestone ridge known as the Formation Rejiche which runs along the coast.3 This geological formation was suitable for the cutting of Punic-type chambers, of which a number have been located on this side of Leptiminus, and for catacombs, of which other examples have been identified in the same region, at Sousse, Sullecthum, and probably Thapsus.
The existence of underground structures became clear following enquiries made of local residents, who spoke of substructures and vaults beneath their houses. Residents noted that after heavy rains water vanished rapidly into the ground; we now realize that it disappears into the underground voids of built or carved structures.