Archaeologists combing through Gemmayzeh excavation site unearth artifacts dating back to first century AD

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In Gemmayzeh, on the northeast end of the Lebanese capital, it's common to find relatively recent structures looming over late-Ottoman and Mandate-period buildings, like warnings of coming development. The architectural record goes back beyond the Ottomans, as it happens, and for the past several months, the diversity of the quarter's historic architecture has been more obvious.

Just east of the Haddad Street gas station, due south of Gouraud Street, is a large hole - at its largest extent, it ran southwest for about 1,100 square meters. The pit is the site of an archaeological excavation, whose ruins are estimated to have been erected in the Roman period, between the end of the first and the start of the second centuries AD.

At the height of the excavation work, the site was pleasingly incongruous. Peering over the southern lip of the pit is a once-modest late-Ottoman building, which a few years ago underwent a cyborg-like reconstruction a-la Lebanese architect Bernard Khoury.

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