Saturday, August 29, 2009


SIDON: Valuable archaeological ruins recently uncovered in Sidon proved to be the missing link in the city's historic legacy. This week, the British Museum delegation uncovered 13 burial sites, temples and personal items dating to the Canaanite period in the coastal city's Freres archeological site. "We uncovered the biggest number of ruins this year and this helped complete the cycle of historic periods discovered in the site," said head of the British Museum delegation Dr. Claude Doumit Serhal.

The delegation consists of a team of 90 Lebanese and foreign professionals and has been excavating the coastal city's site for eleven years in collaboration with General Directorate of Antiquities.

"What is remarkable about this week's discovery is that it reveals the religious rituals and lifestyle during the Canaanite period" said Serhal. "The site, unlike any other in Lebanon, showed the clear succession of historic periods in Sidon."

This week's discoveries included a 48-meter-long temple filled with bronze pieces, knives and rings as well as pottery and stone statues used by ancient people to repel evil spirits. The site also contained temples dating back to 3000 BC and 1000 BC along with nine rooms and cereal stocks. The discoveries show the temple to be from the Canaanite period between 1800 BC and 1500 BC.

Around 108 burial sites from 1900 BC and 1500 BC were also discovered. They contained several types of burnt cereals and animal corps and revealed the religious and funerary rituals of that period.

The delegation also found the missing piece of a vase decorated with the pharaoh's Lotus flower. The piece is believed to be a gift to Sidon's king from the Pharaoh Queen Tausert who succeeded Ramses II. "This is but another proof of the succession of civilizations," said Serhal.

"The uncovered archaeological pieces will be displayed in the city's museum" said Serhal who described this year's discoveries as "astonishing." "This site will become a cultural and tourist reference in the city of Sidon" she added. The cornerstone for Sidon's first archaeological museum was placed on June 27 and will be open to the public in 2012.

The city of Sidon has witnessed the succession of numerous civilizations and
the city's archaeological discoveries have revealed ruins pertaining to the
Canaanite, the Persian and the Ottoman periods.


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