Archaeology Magazine

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Group Fights to Preserve Beirut’s Roman Heritage

Friday, September 27, 2013

hippodrome-2BEIRUT, LEBANON—A shortage of trained personnel and the lack of a director at the culture ministry’s directorate of antiquities have been blamed for the loss of ancient sites to construction projects across Lebanon. Archaeological projects that do take place are often funded by developers. But an activist group known as the Association to Protect Lebanese Heritage has filed a complaint with the Beirut governor’s office to stop the destruction of what is left of a 2,000-year-old hippodrome at a site slated for the construction of luxury homes. A Roman theater where 1,400 gladiators are said to have fought in a single day is located nearby. “We are committed to protecting the hippodrome and the theater. This is a declaration of war,” said group member Raja Noujaim.