Thanks to a Leverhulme Trust research grant, an international team of 14 experts in urban archaeology and information technology were able to join over 20 archaeologists and students from the American University of Beirut, the Lebanese and Saint Joseph universities.

Using the Department of Antiquities' Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) total station made surveying and field recording fast and efficient. Learning how to use it and operating it close to demolition machinery was not always easy. Practicing recording single context sheets and plans was a daily experience requiring patient instruction.

Further training was provided at the Apple Interlink-sponsored computer station in AUB, where the AutoCAD program was used to establish combined context plans. These, in turn, were combined with a Geographical Information System (GIS) software program for visual reconstruction.s. Computer generated reconstructions do not only recreate buried towns but can network with the new urban center to model types of past settlements as well as needs of future city centers with traditional components.

An appropriate archaeological strategy for Beirut's city center must be fast and efficient in view of the rapid demolition and development operations.

The story of the Souks of Beirut can still be retrieved from within the ground - and told, just in time, before 20th century construction and development remove most of its traces forever.

Using the EDM station for surveing the souk excavations


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