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8 August 2009
13 ancient burial sites, temples unearthed in Lebanon

A British Museum delegation uncovered 13 burial sites, temples and personal items dating to the Canaanite period (Bronze Age) in Sidon'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 Lebanese 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 recent 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 BCE and 1000 BCE along with nine rooms and cereal stocks. "We found new pieces in each room this year" said Serhal, adding that the discoveries show the temple to be from the Canaanite period between 1800 BCE and 1500 BCE. Around 108 burial sites from 1900 BCE and 1500 BCE were also discovered. They contained several types of burnt cereals and animal corps and revealed the religious and funerary rituals of that period. The excavations proved that the archaeological site was not only used as a normal housing location but as a temple for gods from different and successive historic periods.
     The British delegation expanded its excavations this year to include the archaeological site of al-Sandaqli in Sidon, also maintained by the General Directorate of Antiquities. "The uncovered archaeological pieces will be displayed in the city's museum" said Serhal who described this year's discoveries as 'astonishing.'

Source: The Daily Star (6 August 2009)

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