By: Hélène Sader
Lebanon has a long and very rich past, but in spite of the country’s wealth of ancient settlements, compared to neighboring countries archaeological research is far behind. While in the last decades archaeological research has greatly enhanced our understanding of Syria’s, Jordan’s, and Palestine’s past, Lebanon appears to be lagging behind and its ancient history, with the exception maybe of prehistory, is almost terra incognita.
One reason is Lebanon’s antiquities laws. Archaeology in Lebanon is governed by the 1933 law on antiquities, clauses of which have been suspended or changed by ministerial decisions. The law establishes the Lebanese Directorate General of Antiquities (DGA) as the sole authority in charge of the oversight and organization of archaeological activity, the protection of archaeological sites and historical monuments, and the creation and curatorship of archaeological museums. The law also stipulates that universities and specialized institutes—not individuals—can be granted excavation or survey permits. (more…)