Martyrs’ Square, Beirut

Project team: Prof. PhDr. Jan Bouzek, DrSc. (director), Prof. Radislav Hošek , Assoc. Prof. Petr Charvát, Dr. Jiří Musil, Mgr. Jana Kubková, Alice Hayerová, Pavel Titz and Martin Trefný.

Project overview: In 1996, we were invited by the UNESCO center in Beirut to carry out a rescue excavation in the western part of Martyrs’ Square. The 30 x 10m plot was designated as Bey 069, trench A. The excavation was financed mostly from UNESCO funds with some contribution from private sponsors.

We uncovered two Hellenistic, one early Roman, late Roman, and Byzantine cities. Upper layers included medieval pottery kilns, the 16thcentury Fahr-ed.-Dina garden and 19th century Ottoman sewage systems. Until the Hellenistic period, the square was under shallow coastal water, and the Phoenician and Bronze Age layers were with all probability washed into the seabed. In 2006, the material from the 1996 excavations was carefully studied in the central depositary of the Department of Antiquities in Beirut, especially Roman and Byzantine finds that had not been fully processed, and Ottoman pottery.


  • Bouzek, J. – Musil, J. ‘Preliminary Report on Current Excavations: Institute for Classical Archaeology, Charles University, Prague, 1.Beirut, Martyrs‘ Square, 1996 excavations’, Eirene 32, 1997 (1998), 158-165, 170-176
  • J. Bouzek, ‘Charles University of Prague excavations in Beirut, Martyrs Square, preliminary report’, in: Centennary of Mediterranean Archaeology at the Jagellonian University 1897-1997, Cracow 1999, pp. 48-57
  • Bouzek, J. (Ed.) 2002a: Czech excavations in Beirut, Martyrs‘ Square (Bey 069), Sondage A, Part I, General Survey. Pottery and other small finds of Hellenistic, Early Roman and Medieval periods, Glass and metal objects, Eirene 38, 2002, 7-166.
  • Bouzek, J. 2002b: Czech excavations at Beirut, Martyrs‘ Square. Part II: Architecture, survey of layers and deposits, Addenda to Part I- The lamps, Studia Hercynia VI, 41-106.
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