Ain Wassel is the only rural site of Africa Proconsularis which has been excavated using the stratigraphic method and the detailed results are published in this volume thanks to an archaeological field survey of the surrounding rural region. The interpretation of the stratigraphic sequence of the excavated area was able to determine a precise chrono-typology of pottery and amphoras, and to outline the importance of the Vandal and Byzantine period, which was confirmed by additional data from the survey. The excavation provided evidence of sustainable intensive mixed farming: an oil mill and press, a grain hand mill, a sundial, bones of cattle and dromedaries raised for labour, transport, milk, meat, skins, wool. Remains of fowl, such as a partridge and fragments of ash tree, pine and olive stones were found and analyzed. Local imitations of African Red Slip (ARS) wares were identified for the first time, and three new types of amphoras of large dimensions were discovered and classified as Ain Wassel 1, 2 and 3. The excavation proved that in the 7th c. AD north Africa was still very active and dynamic, where regional trade used both fluvial and ground transportation. Until recently, this was considered a period of crisis, abandonment of the countryside and ruralization of cities; it was not so.
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