Explore / Excavations Reveal Beirut's History

Downtown Beirut which was almost completely destroyed by 30 years of continuous battles was hiding a true historical and archaeological treasure that is obvious in the remaining vestiges of Ottoman, Crusader, Abbasside, Omayyad, Byzantine, Roman, Hellenistic, Persian, Phoenician, and Canaanite civilizations. These treasures and archaeological sites were later integrated into public parks.

 

The General Directorate of Antiquities has been continuously excavating since 2005. Digs are mostly related to urban excavations in many areas of Beirut, namely Ashrafieh, Bodowi, Gemmayzeh, Saifi, the surroundings of the National Museum and Justice Palace, in addition to Minat el Hosn, Zkak el Blatt, Mrayjeh among others. The General Directorate is acting in coordination with archaeologists from the Lebanese University, the American University of Beirut (AUB), Saint Joseph University (USJ), as well as the Holy Spirit University in Kaslik (USEK).

 

Among the important discoveries of Beirut are the main architectural elements of the Roman hippodrome at Wadi abou Jmil. Along with private baths and remains of a huge cultic complex at Gemmayzeh which dates back to the Roman era. There, 4 altars were found including 2 with inscriptions that imply dedications, one of them to the Heliopolitan Triad (Jupiter, Venus and Mercury) while the other is offered to the marine goddess Leucothea, daughter of Cadmus. Moreover, several residential rural installations have been uncovered near the religious compound, in addition to a water piping system, and remnants of Roman baths with a big ground mosaic, along with a number of ancient coins.

 

Excavations also came across expansions of ancient Roman Beirut necropolis. And, for the first time to the south of Beirut, Roman installations were found, in addition to Prehistoric tools dating back to as far as 200,000 years B.C.

Excavations are still lighting upon the remaining past of Beirut since Prehistory to the middle Ages, including the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Arab eras. Among the most recent discoveries, there are collections of statues, potteries, unique glass objects, amid other remnants such as ceramics furnaces, and bronze workshops. 



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