Under the city centre, the ancient harbour. Tyre and Sidon: Heritages to preserve

Nick Marriner, Christophe Morhange

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The exact location and chronology of the ancient harbours of Phoenicia's two most important city-states, Tyre and Sidon, is a longstanding debate. New geoarchaeological research reveals that the early ports actually lie beneath the modern urban centres. During the Bronze Age, Tyre and Sidon were characterised by semi-open marine coves. After the first millennium BC, our bio-sedimentological data attest to early artificial harbour infrastructure, before the later apogees of the Roman and Byzantine periods. Post-1000 AD, silting-up and coastal progradation led to burial of the ancient basins, lost until now, beneath the city centres. The outstanding preservation properties of such fine-grained sedimentary contexts, coupled with the presence of the water table, means these two Levantine harbours are exceptionally preserved. This work has far-reaching implications for our understanding of Phoenician maritime archaeology and calls for the protection of these unique cultural heritages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-189
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cultural Heritage
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Ancient harbour
  • Antiquity
  • Coastal heritage
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Holocene
  • Lebanon
  • Phoenicia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Conservation
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications


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