Archaeological research at Iskandarouna Bay and its surroundings- 2023

Dr. Zeina Haddad

The historical site of Iskandarouna is located 16 km to the south of Tyre, within the town of Naqoura. It is one of the places that probably bore the name of Alexander the Great from the Hellenistic period, it was said that he did set his tent on the site during the siege of the city of Tyre. During the Fatimid period (11th century), and very likely before, it was already used as an anchorage (The Book of Curiosities, 2014). During the 12th century, it was certainly still in use. The clear historical text referring to it is the one attributed to Ibn Jubayr (1995) from the year 1185 when he visited the location. We mention that there are no harbour activities nowadays in the bay.

Besides the mentions of Iskandarouna from the medieval ages, the ancient bay and its surroundings are still unknown in the scientific circle, despite the first mentions by some orientalists who visited the site during the 19th century. Although there are some archaeological installations in the vicinity of the area, no clear historical information is available about the possible existence of harbour installations in the bay and limited attention has been paid to the maritime archaeological landscape of this important site.

One of the questions we would like to answer is if there was in the bay an ancient built harbour or a mere anchorage, not sheltered from the dominant winds, which was probably used seasonally. Other questions are about the possible age of the ancient installations around the bay, the slipways mainly, their functionality throughout history and the relation between the findings discovered on land around the bay and underwater with these installations.

Scroll to Top