I was lucky enough to pass by the Saifi dig (above) today when the gate was briefly open. Notice the huge amount of blue crates above the tents in the close up shot below. These are used to store artifacts, so there must be many of them dug up at the site:

I have written about this excavation last March. But it seems a lot more tents have been installed since then and more blue crates are now visible. At the time, the project being built at the site was called Saifi Gardens, a luxurious glass and steel residential complex, as seen in this previous post.

But now it seems the project has been renamed Saifi Plaza–at least that is what the new walls say:

Of course as an average citizen– pedestrian or driver– all we can see on most days are these walls. So has the project been changed in any way? Will this effect the time given to the archeologists before the site is cleared to make way for the new buildings? Is there any chance the find will be so valuable that the project will be cancelled or put on hold?

It would be great if anyone living in the nearby buildings could send us some more shots of the dig, since the government’s department of antiquities aggressively bans anyone from taking photos close to the site as I have often found out the hard way.

For more on the state of archeology in Lebanon–and the tensions between developers, archeologists and bureaucrats, see a piece I wrote for the BBC about the removal and dismantling of ruins belonging to Beirut’s Roman Hippodrome last summer. In the second part of the piece, I outline some of the larger questions about transparency, accountability and governance in the sector, which remains one of the most secretive in Lebanon. 
  1. First of all you obviously have no idea about archaeological excavations, not a single idea, not even for a non-archaeologist, which is really unfortunate for a “reporter” willing to cover such a subject.

    Then, your idea about having someone take some shots from a nearby building (as in earlier posts) is totally ridiculous as the site is fully covered with tarps.

    So what I would suggest is you enter the site and harass the archaeologists as you usually do, but this time to a point they’ll brake and confess of all the things they’ve stolen and the amounts they got from the contractor for rapidly clearing his site 🙂

    …..as usual, outstandingly unprofessional and non-sense inspector Clouseau. No wonder they probably started hating you though you could have nicely asked them about the time they were given, the finds and consequently the whole project.

  2. Though the comment was a bit hard and sarcastic, you cannot say it wasn’t also a bit constructive…just a little bit (which is never the case in ur posts).

    Anyhow it subsequently shows how unprofessional you are, and how unwilling to hear any criticism…


  3. Who are you Anonymous? A real estate PR parrot connected to this Saifa Plaza project perhaps? Or on the payroll somehow of the real estate kleptos ruining Beirut at the expense of the city’s heritage?
    If you were professional you would state your name, especially when labelling Habib as unprofessional, and moreover, not giving any reasons for slandering him.
    How does Habib “obviously have no idea about archaeological excavations”? Could you expand and explain why perhaps? That would be constructive. If you read the text, you would notice Habib was raising a lot of questions, which is what reporters are supposed to do

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