Urban archaeology investigates the origin, growth and recession of cities using thorough investigation and recording of archaeological evidence before its destruction by modern development.

The project Urban Archaeology in Beirut '94 provides a unique opportunity for young Lebanese archeologists to gain experience in the latest methods and techniques of excavating city centers. The urban archaeology now brought to Beirut was developed over the last 20 years and tested abroad, in England and France, in London and Carthage, as well as in Rome and Milan. Mastering urban archaeology will in the future enable Lebanese archaeologists to retrieve information from other important cultural capitals of Lebanon's past, continuously occupied since antiquity, and hence difficult to investigate with traditional excavation techniques. Today's urban archaeology allows the retrieval of delicate finds and samples providing evidence of urban activities and life in ancient Beirut, as well as the visual reconstruction of entire buildings despite the fact that only small portions of the city can be freed because of the high cost of urban excavations.

However, Lebanon's cultural heritage cannot be properly managed without the public at large. Hence, results of archaeological rescue work must be communicated to the public immediately, if general interest and support is to be raised. A poster campaign in Arabic and English providing information about the aims and results of the 1994 urban excavation on Souk Tawile began in September on site.

G-SYS plan showing superimposed
Ottoman and Mamluk period structures
and features excavated in succession
on the Souk Tawile site by AUB-Leverhulme


al@mashriq                       960118/960118