American University of Beirut


Project background:

The 'Berytus' project is a Lebanese-German collaboration between the Philipps University of Marburg and the American University of Beirut. It was initiated in 2012 with a three-year grant from the DFG. Additional projects were made possible with the support of the Gerda Henkel Foundation and the DAAD. The project was re-funded by the DFG for an additional three years in 2022.

Project summary:

Berytus, one of the ancient Phoenician cities, fell under Roman rule during the conquest of Pompey the Great in the 60s BC. Consequently, Emperor Augustus (27 BC – AD 14) granted the city the status of a colony where veterans of the Roman legions were settled.

The focus of the project is on the cultural processes that accompanied the founding of the colony, by focusing on the material culture (pottery, glass, coins, lamps, architectural features, etc.) retrieved from the rescue excavations of the city during the post-civil war reconstruction of the capital of Lebanon. As a colony, Berytus enjoyed many privileges, in particular ius italicum (“Italian right"). The project aims to examine this special cultural status as evidenced by Berytus' empire-wide famed law school and the use of the Latin language.

Project leader: Winfried Held (Marburg)

Project partner: Hélène Sader (Beirut)

Principal members:

  • Hans Curvers
  • Christoph Lehnert
  • Jack Nurpetlian
  • Hisham Sayegh
  • Christine Wilkening-Aumann

Contributing members:

  • Ulrich-Walter Gans
  • Gerhard Jöhrens
  • Jesper Wangen

Collaborating partners:

  • Paul Reynolds
  • Helga Seeden

Research assistants:

  • Fadia Abou Saleh
  • Nathan Azar
  • Nathan Klug Duran
  • Julia Weber


Documenting the complex stratigraphy and architectural features during rescue excavations of down-town Beirut.  

Students processing and studying Roman pottery excavated from central Beirut. 

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