Zakarya Khelif – A Closer Look at the Domestic Architecture of Tipasensis

Getty Global Lecture

Zakarya Khelif – A Closer Look at the Domestic Architecture of Tipasensis

Color photo of Roman ruins on a cliff by the sea

Ruins from the Roman colony of Tipasa in Mauretaniae Caesariensis, in present-day Algeria (photograph © Sergey Mayorov and licensed through Dreamstime)

The first Getty Global Lecture, featuring Emre Gölüngür on “Blue Anatolia: The Classical Heritage and Modern Imagination in Postwar Turkey,” takes place at the Academy on Tuesday, April 23.

Zakarya Khelif (2024 Affiliated Fellow) will speak about his research, which focuses on the Romano-African domestic architecture, particularly elite residences, in the Roman colony of Tipasa of Mauretaniae Caesariensis (the present-day city of Tipaza in Algeria). His work will shed light on three important examples: the House of Frescoes, the House of Lotis, and the House of Achilles Mosaic, located northwest of the city forum in a new residential area built in the Antonine period. The domus served as more than just a residence for an extended family, including slaves; it also played an important role in the social life of the owner. Part of that life took place in its large reception areas, such as Oecus, Triclinia, as well as in the Vestibulum, the peristyle and bath suites. 

Khelif’s project tries to envisage the private lives of local elites through the examination of the archaeological data of their houses, with the support of ancient literary sources, African literature mainly, resorting particularly to Apuleius (Apology, Metamorphoses). Both can give important insights into how the elites of a Roman city may have viewed and experienced their domestic space and perhaps detect local traditions, thus a local identity; as well as to know to what extent the elites may have accepted new architectural forms and social practices. To support his analyses, Khelif plans to conduct a comparative study of Roman houses by personally visiting major Roman cities in Italy, such as Pompeii and Herculaneum.


Zakarya Khelif, a researcher in the Department of Historical Archaeology at the National Center for Archaeological Research and a PhD candidate in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Algiers, is the 2024 Getty Global Affiliated Fellow.

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Date & time
Tuesday, April 30, 2024
6:30 PM
AAR Lecture Room
McKim, Mead & White Building
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
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Event sponsorship

This program is made possible with support from Getty through its Connecting Art Histories initiative.