Thursday, August 23, 2012

Roman building wrongly identified as Phoenician port

An archaeological site earmarked for development on the coast of downtown Beirut has angered preservationists. However, archaeologists suggest the site may have been wrongly identified in the first place.

The disputed location is to be bulldozed to make way for a luxury compound.Ministry of Culture in Lebanon

A row over archaeologically sensitive land in Beirut has been settled. Argument had raged about whether the proposed site for a US$500 million luxury complex was once an ancient Phoenician port or just a rock quarry. But staff at Lebanon's Ministry of Culture have now dated the ancient trenches and stones to the 1st century AD and believes they were most likely the foundation of a large Roman building.

"[The Romans] began the first foundations and during [construction] they changed the plan," says Assaad Seif, the archaeologist coordinating research and excavations for the government. Excavation revealed that the first foundation was incomplete and some of the blocks laid were dismantled and reused in a new building. "They stopped digging and shifted over to build foundations that are narrower."