The project was started informally in May 2002 with a first excavation campaign on the Bir Massouda site in which Tunisian and Belgian scholars and students closely worked together. The friendly cooperation was formally based on a first draft of a bilateral contract viz. a letter of intent. In April 2004, this contract was signed by the Directeur Géneral de l’Institut National du Patrimoine, Prof. Beji Ben Mami, in Tunis and the Rector of Ghent University, Prof. Andreas De Leenheer, in Ghent. It stresses the intention of furthering the project on the level of site research, staff formation and site and heritage management, as well as mise-en-valeur.