Ancient history gets in the way of Beirut's modern towers

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Ancient history is getting in the way of construction in Beirut's building boom as new archaeological discoveries delay the springing up of long-planned high rises.

And the delays can be long, frustrating and expensive.

Construction on a luxury 23-storey residential building in the heart of the Lebanese capital, for example, has been stalled for 15 months after excavators stumbled on a 2,000-year-old Roman bath house.

"Imagine a developer waiting a year and three months without any progress being made on his building," says Samir Bey of Saifi Crown real estate development company that owns the 1,144 square metre (12,313 square foot) plot of land.

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