Early Roman ruins have been discovered along a main road in the Tyre area, causing the road to be partially closed while excavations continue ,the find is significant, because of the scale of the ruins, which consist so far of five Byzantine marble tombs, and the fact they were found largely intact
. “This is the first such discovery this year, and the most important Byzantine ruins found in the area in the past five years,” said Nader Saqlawi, who is leading the excavation.
The team, consisting of three Lebanese archaeologists and several day laborers, has also found glassware, but nothing wholly intact so far.
The ruins, as well as an ancient road dating back to the same period, were found four meters beneath the ground during an excavation that began just over a week ago. Saqlawi says the work could continue for the next several months, depending on how much they find.
Tyre, which was once a Roman province, is rich in ancient ruins, although a find of this size on a main road is considered somewhat unusual. Lebanon’s directorate of antiquities will soon decide how to proceed with the project, but it is likely that some parts of the road, which is close to a main bus station, will remain closed until the excavation is complete.
One of the last major discoveries in the area was in 2003, when a Japanese archaeological mission discovered a Phoenician temple along with small figurines.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization added Tyre’s Roman Hippodrome to its list of world heritage sites in 1979. Other historical attractions in the area include Tyre’s old city, and the columns and agora at Al Mina.