SIDON, Lebanon: A statue of a Phoenician priest has been uncovered at an excavation site in the southern city of Sidon, along with other antiquities, the most unique find for Lebanon in decades, the British Museum team announced Monday.
The priest, 115 centimeters high and dating back to the sixth century B.C., was found at the Freres College site, which has been under excavation for the last 16 years, the head of the excavation, Claude Doumit Serhal, announced at a press conference at the Lebanese Directorate General of Antiquities.
“Nothing comparable has been found in Lebanon since the early 1960s, and only three other examples originating from Sidon, Umm al-Ahmed and Tyre are housed in the Beirut National Museum,” the statement said.
The figurine is that of a male wearing a pleated kilt, known as “shenti,” with a pendant flap from the waist to the kilt’s hem. The left hand is in a closed fist and holding an unknown object, “probably a scroll or a handkerchief,” according to the statement.
Archeologists found the statue lying on its front, as it was re-used by the Romans and placed under a marble pavement in that position.
Three new rooms were also found in a third millennium B.C. public building, along with a 200-kilogram deposit of charred wheat called einkorn, 160 kilograms of broad bean and 20 burials belonging to both adults and infants from the second millennium B.C.
This year’s excavation has been extended over six months, having started in January, in order to prepare for the building of an on-site museum, the statement added.