Tabarja 2019 - 2022

From 25 to 27 July 2019 MSDS Marine undertook an offshore geophysical survey at the site of Tabarja in Mount Lebanon. In the adjacent area to the terrestrial archaeological multi-period site Tabarja Wata Slam 100 -TWS100 which has been excavated under the scientific direction of Pr. Corine Yazbeck[1]. Following the request of the DGA and scientific director of TWS100, the geophysical survey was undertaken prior to the development of a beach resort that is planning to have an estimated 500 metres boardwalk by the sea and a marina that seems to extend offshore over an area of approximately 247 metres (N-NE/S-SW) by 200 meters (E/W). The geophysical sensors deployed at Tabarja comprised a Sidescan Sonar to identify material on the seabed, a magnetometer to identify ferrous material, a Sub-bottom Profiler to establish the depth of sediment overlying bedrock and a Single Beam Echo Sounder to create a bathymetric map of the survey area. In addition, Drop Down Video was used to identify the seabed composition.


The data was processed by MSDS Marine who identified targets of potential archaeological interest. Upon receiving the final report, HFF Lebanon set a strategy for groundtruthing the anomalies. However, it was only in the summer of 2022, that work was able to resume at the site, with the use of both remote and diver-based methods. Indeed, archaeological and magnetic contacts were verified using a Blue Robotics Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), as well as deploying divers in the water to double check the potential archaeological targets. Documentation on the field was made through written records and video recordings via the ROV camera and a Gopro for redundancy. The groundtruthing campaign was also a valuable opportunity for training former HFF-AUB scholars in geophysical survey principles and underwater search and recovery techniques. These trainee archaeologists were thus able to apply their knowledge gained from the Marine Science and Culture minor at the American University of Beirut and further enhance their skill set.


[1] The latter project is also supported by the Foundation, more details can be found here.

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