Roman Family Tomb from Tyre

Interesting item in the Daily Star:

A burial cave dating back to the Roman and Byzantine eras has been discovered in the southern town of Burj al-Shamali near Tyre, the Lebanese Directorate General of Antiquities announced Monday.

A team of seven Japanese archaeologists led by the head of the Preservation of Cultural Properties Department at Japan’s Nara University Professor Mishyama Yushi made the discovery.

At the Beirut government’s request, the Japanese university deployed teams of archaeologists and students to Tyre in 2008 to work in coordination with the Lebanese Directorate General of Antiquities.

Like many coastal cities across Lebanon, Tyre, 85 kilometers south of Beirut, contains relics dating back to the Phoenician and Roman eras.

Archaeologists uncovered colored frescoes on the cave’s walls representing animal shapes such as a brown and green peacock, animal parts, pottery and other geometrical forms.

The drawings were in good condition and very well preserved after 2,000 years. About six underground tombs were also located inside the cave.

Japanese Ambassador Koichi Kwakawi visited the site on Monday and presented a technical report to prepare for further study into the significance of the discovered ruins.

Mosaics were also discovered in the grotto, as was a rock quarry, said archaeologist Nader Saqlawi of the Directorate General of Antiquities. “The quarry was probably used for the burial of a rich family of six members,” Saqlawi explained.

Excavations on the site started three years ago and were divided into three stages: Cleaning the ruins and the drawings, protecting them then restoring them and preserving them. “Similar excavations were launched in the 1960s but the site was then closed,” according to Saqlawi.

The Burj al-Shamali cave is 20 square meters wide and three meters high and is considered to be of great historical importance. “It could be very beneficiary in studying the arts of the two eras and the Roman burial rituals,’ said Saqlawi.

… be nice to see some photos …

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