Archaeologists Just Found A Tell From the Middle Bronze Age in Lebanon


Archaeological research in Lebanon is not as popular as in other countries. This is mainly due to the constant clashes; all research was paused during the civil war (1975-1990). 

In recent years, exploration started again and new sites such as Tell Fadous-Kfarabida were explored, being of the first explorations in northern Lebanon as all previous studies took place in southern Lebanon.

A view of Chekka bay taken by AUB professor Hermann Genz.

A more recent study is that of Tell Mirhan, in the project called Between Land and Sea.

Between Land and Sea was initiated by the Institute for Oriental and European Archaeology (OREA) to study the Chekka region in Lebanon and investigate its Bronze Age sites.

The project is in cooperation with Hermann Genz, history and archaeology professor from the American University of Beirut (AUB), and funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).

Tell Mirhan of Chekka is located near a cement plant and was partially destroyed due to the construction of the plant and modern houses. It was a total of 6 hectares, however, only 1 hectare remains intact today. 

The study of its remains, by a survey conducted in 2016 and excavation in 2018, revealed a fortification system from the Middle Bronze Age which once surrounded the entire site. It is one of only four known in Lebanon. 

According to archeological findings, the site used to be an important harbor, mostly for trading strong wood, which neighboring countries such as Egypt and Cyprus depended on to build their temples and ships.

“The material retrieved from this section showed clearly that the area was integrated into an international trading network with Egypt and Cyprus for nearly a millennium,” reported OREA.

“Egyptian pottery from the Middle and New Kingdom as well as imports from Cyprus and Greece testify to the importance of this site as a harbor town during these periods,” states the abstract in a publication on the project.

Cooperating with forest engineers from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), the team investigated how timber was transported from the mountains and their loading onto ships in the Chekka Bay. 

For further research, airborne laser scanning, specifically Digital Elevation Model (DEM) generated from high-resolution LiDAR data, was used. It is said to be the first time an airborne laser scanning technology was used in Lebanon.