In 1856 Dr Nathan Davis, whose other works include A Voice from North Africa (1844), began his excavation of the site of Carthage, fabled North African city of Dido, ‘fugitive princess of Tyre’. During the course of the excavations, which extended to Utica and other sites of historic interest, Dr Davis discovered a number of relics, including some fine fragments of Roman mosaic pavements, which now reside in the British Museum.
Carthage and Her Remains is, however, primarily a travel book rather than a scientific account of an archaeological investigation, and the author is an excellent story-teller. He brings to life the culture and history of the region and the classical legends that surround it, memorably retracing at one point the footsteps of Aeneas from the North African shore to the walls of Carthage. He also entertainingly describes his dealings with the dignitaries of Tunis and with his Arab workmen, admirably succeeding in his avowed aim, which is ‘… to combine his special object – to dig for relics of the past, with his natural propensity to dig into the minds, and characters, of the modern occupants of the territories of Carthage’.