Beyond Purple and Ivory

An investigation into the Phoenician economy in their homeland based on agriculture and pottery production in southern Lebanon during the late Iron Age and Persian period

Project director: Dr. Aaron Schmitt

This project will provide new insights into economic strategies in the Phoenician homeland during the late Iron Age and Persian period based on the rigorous analysis of landscape and archaeological data using a multidisciplinary and multidimensional approach.

Until today, mainly external textual sources have been used for the study of the Phoenician economy leading to a largely incomplete picture and a number of misconceptions. As Lebanon has seen less archaeological research relative to surrounding areas key pieces of data are missing hindering efforts to develop region-level explanatory frameworks. In a case study in southern Lebanon, this project attempts to rectify this situation through the ambitions collection and interpretation of data on an unprecedented scale, granting a new understanding of the Phoenician economy.

The results of this project will provide the Levantine archaeological research with much needed robust datasets to gain an understanding of the Phoenician economy. The significance of this project is not limited to Levantine archaeology due to the presence of the Phoenicians in large parts of the Mediterranean. A great number of scholars working on the ancient Mediterranean eagerly await new research results from the homeland, which will help to put their data into context.

Project components

  • Excavations at Tell el-Burak
  • The Zahrani Regional Survey
  • Multidisciplinary analysis of Phoenician pottery

Project partners