Tell el-Ghassil; includes the results from the AUB Museum excavations at Tell el-Ghassil (1956-1974). The site is located in the University Farm in the Bekaa, at 16 km south-west of Baalbek. Eleven archaeological levels ranging from 1800 to 600 BC, indicate that Tell el-Ghassil was a rural agrarian site.
A reconstruction of a complete skeleton, found in this tomb, represented in a crouched position, as a fetus in the womb of his mother to reproduce the belief of rebirth after death. Daily vessels were thus placed next to the dead for him to be used in the afterlife.
Tell el-Ghassil represents the link between the Late Bronze Age of the 2nd Millennium B.C. and the Iron Age of the 1st Millenium B.C.
Tell el-Ghassil tomb
The PHOENICIAN CIVILIZATION; the Phoenician city-states occupied the coastal area of modern day Lebanon extending north to Arwad in Syria and south to Acre in Palestine.
Prior to the Iron Age the inhabitants of these city-states were called the Canaanites. The Greeks called these people “Phoenicians”, after their well known purple dye, the color of which they called Phoe Ni Kes.
What brought together these city-states under one Phoenician civilization are the following common characteristics:
1. Phoenician purple dye
The Purple dye extracted from three types of murex shells gave a different tint according to the murex type used and when applied on silk or wool. 12,000 shells were needed to extract 1.5 grams of this dye, making the purple dye a very expensive and luxurious item. Because of its importance, the murex shell was represented on most Phoenician coins of Tyre, where from it was mostly
Dark purple color
2. Phoenician trade and navigation
The Phoenicians are best known for their trade and navigation skills. They exploited the trade sea routes of the Mediterranean,establishing settlements from Cyprus to Spain, exporting Cedar timber and their local industries (like purple and spices) and importing in exchange other material.
During the Solidere reconstruction project of Beirut Central District at the end of the Lebanese civil war, the AUB museum team excavated, in 1995, a warehouse near the present harbor of Beirut. A photo shows a room full of Phoenician storage jars ready to be exported; one of the jars contained carbonized raisins seeds. Two sherds of the same type of jars bare the same Phoenician inscription which reads LŠMN meaning olive oil.
Warehouse in BEY003 excavation