More Ro­man ru­ins found at Si­don’s Bus­tan al-Kabir

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mo­hammed Zaatari

SI­DON, Le­banon: An an­cient wa­ter well and a Ro­man sar­coph­a­gus are among the latest ar­chae­o­log­i­cal trea­sures to be ex­ca­vated at a con­struc­tion site in Si­don’s Bus­tan alKabir neigh­bor­hood. Re­mains of glass, coins and pot­tery have also been found.

Un­der­neath old Si­don the ground is rich in history, and the un­cov­er­ing of an­tiq­ui­ties is a reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence in the city, be­lieved to be around 6,000 years old. Each new dis­cov­ery helps ex­plain the lifestyles, rit­u­als and phys­i­cal sur­round­ings of peo­ples and civ­i­liza­tions that once lived in the city.

The Ro­man pe­riod in Si­don ex­tended over hun­dreds of years, and left be­hind a num­ber of arche­o­log­i­cal trea­sures in the city.

The new dis­cov­er­ies are not the first in Bus­tan al-Kabir. Last month, a Ro­man wall and two burial grounds were found at the con­struc­tion site. Skele­tons, pot­tery and coins with Latin in­scrip­tions were also dis­cov­ered in­side what is be­lieved to be a burial ground.

The of­fice of the Di­rec­torate Gen­eral of An­tiq­ui­ties in Si­don has been car­ry­ing out the ex­ca­va­tion of the site.

‘We are work­ing to con­nect his­tor­i­cal pe­ri­ods to­gether’

Miriam Zi­adeh, the head of Si­don’s Bureau of An­tiq­ui­ties, em­pha­sized that the Ro­man era lasted for a long time in Si­don, and that the new dis­cov­er­ies in Bus­tan alKabir sug­gest a num­ber of pos­si­ble uses for the area.

“Dis­cov­er­ing a well shows that [the area] was ei­ther agri­cul­tural, or re­lated to burial rit­u­als, as a sar­coph­a­gus was found near the well and small ceme­ter­ies next to it. [The well could also have been used] for wa­ter in the daily life of res­i­dents of that civ­i­liza­tion,” Zi­adeh said, ex­plain­ing that it is too early to con­clu­sively draw the fea­tures of the en­tire site and un­der­stand how ex­actly it was used.

She ex­plained that the Di­rec­torate Gen­eral is still in the process of clean­ing the pot­tery, coins and glass that were also found there.

“We are work­ing to con­nect his­tor­i­cal pe­ri­ods to­gether and find phys­i­cal ev­i­dence [that would] ... de­tail the mo­tive, pur­pose and us­age for the ar­ti­facts and ru­ins that have been found,” Zi­adeh said, adding that the team is cur­rently fo­cused on sci­en­tif­i­cally doc­u­ment­ing the finds.

A Ro­man sar­coph­a­gus is among the latest find­ings.

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