Honor Frost Foundation 12th Annual Lecture Video

Dr Claude Doumet-Serhal (left) and HFF Chair, Ms. Alison Cathie.

On December 8th, 2023 the Honor Frost Foundation held its 12th annual lecture at the British Academy. The lecture was delivered by Dr Claude Doumet-Serhal (MBE, FSA), who has been directing the Sidon excavations since 1998.

The following abstract highlights a few of the fascinating discoveries at this site. The full video, with or without subtitles, is now available to view at the bottom of the page

On the Shores of the “Wine-Dark Sea”: Sidon – A Major harbour within the Mediterranean Network

The Mediterranean and its various native ports have captivated scholarly attention ever since Homer vividly portrayed Odysseus’ adventures across the enigmatic “wine-dark sea”.

As recounted in The Iliad, one remarkable artefact that reflects the region’s interconnectedness and widespread cultural exchanges is a silver mixing bowl. Changing hands many times, it eventually came to Achilles who offered it as a prize to the most fleet-footed, in honour of his comrade Patroclus. Although very small (it contained a mere six measures), it was “crafted with exquisite skill by Sidonian artisans and was borne across the misty expanse of water by Phoenician hands, where it held a unique allure because its aesthetic splendour far outshone all earthly rivals” (Book 23, lines 740-745).

Nestled along the Lebanese coastline, the ancient city of Sidon blazes a prominent trail through the annals of antiquity. Garnering mention an impressive 38 times in the Old Testament, Sidon bears a venerable status. Among the coastal cities of Canaan, it claims the distinction of being the oldest and most illustrious. In Genesis (10:15), Sidon is hailed as the “firstborn of Canaan”. In fact, the labels “Phoenician” and “Sidonian” were often employed interchangeably, a testament to Sidon’s integral role in shaping the cultural and maritime identity of the broader region.

These excavations are still ongoing thanks to the Honor Frost Foundation.


Lecture without subtitles 


Lecture with subtitles 

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