Jiyeh (ancient Porphyreon)
Polish-Lebanese Archaeological Mission in Jiyeh (Porphyreon)
Type of site:
Approximately 25 km to the south of Beirut
12 km to the north of Saida, ancient Sidon
– Late Bronze Age (ca. 1500–1150 BC)
– Iron Age (ca. 1150–530 BC)
– Persian period (475–330 BC)
– Hellenistic period (330–63 BC)
– Early Roman period (63 BC – 135 AD)
– Late Roman period (135–324 AD)
– Byzantine period (324–640 AD)
– Early Islamic period (640–1174 AD).
Most interesting finds:
– Residential quarter built in the 4th/5th century AD
– Wall paintings: floral motifs, a Psalm fragment
– Production center of late Hellenistic and early Roman pottery
– Roman and early Byzantine necropolis
– Christian basilica with floor mosaics (5th–6th century AD)
– Terracotta votive protomes (masks) from the 5th century BC
– Stone stela with the depiction of the Egyptian god Horus
– Remains of wine-production installations discovered north of the site during construction works in 2012
– The results of palaeobotanical and archaeozoological research help to determine which species of plants and animals were cultivated and bred in antiquity
History of reserch:
Investigated by the PCMA mission:
Since 1997: 2003 – geophysical research in sectors B and Q; 2004 – salvage excavations (sector B); 2005 – research in the basilica (sector Q) and sector C; 2008–2014 – research in the residential quarter (sector D)
Type of research:
Excavations, survey in the vicinity of the site, underwater research, geophysical prospection
– Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw
– Direction Générale des Antiquités
– Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
European travelers knew about the ruins of the ancient settlement already in the 18th and 19th centuries. The first excavations on the site were conducted by a Lebanese archaeologist Roger Saidah in 1975. The outbreak of domestic war in Lebanon interrupted the work.
Description of the site and research:
The site, ca. 3 ha in area, is located approximately 25 km to the south of Beirut, near the coastal motorway leading to Saida (ancient Sidon). The ruins of the settlement lie directly on the flat Mediterranean coast.
The site is identified with the Greco-Roman city of Porphyreon. The name likely derives from the purple dye produced on the Phoenician coast. Porphyreon was a Hellenistic city established probably by the Ptolemies in the 3rd century BC. By late antiquity, it was only a small village. Most of the uncovered houses date to this period, similarly as the basilica and necropolis located to the north of the residential quarter (sector D).
During construction work conducted in the northern part of the site, remains of a production center of late Hellenistic and early Roman pottery were found, together with wine-production installations of presumably late antique date. They do not exist anymore.
Results of the research:
EXHIBITION AND CONFERENCE: People, Places, Monuments. 20 Years of Polish–Lebanese Cooperation in Archaeology and Conservation (1996–2016)
2014-09 “Forgotten Heritage. Polish Conservators in Lebanon”
2009-12 Workshop: German and Polish Archaeological Projects in Lebanon (Berlin)
1998 – exhibition at the Kazimierzowski Palace (University of Warsaw)
Exhibition in Geneva
Krueger, M., Wicenciak, U., Kowarska, Z., Niedzielski, P., Kozak, L., Krueger, M., Jakubowski, K., Proch, J., Mleczek, M., Waśkiewicz, A. (2018). First results of organic residue analysis on ceramic vessels (Jiyeh and Chhîm, Lebanon) by High Perfomance Liquid Chromatography with Tandem Mass Spectrometry. Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, 18(1), 209–220.
Badura, M., Rzeźnicka, E., Wicenciak, U., Waliszewski, T. (2016). Plant remains from Jiyeh/Porphyreon, Lebanon (seasons 2009–2014): Preliminary results of archeobotanical analysis and implications for future research. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 25, 487–510.
Gwiazda, M. & Waliszewski, T. (2016). Early Byzantine residential architecture in Jiyeh (Porphyron) after excavation seasons in 2012 and 2013. Archeologia, 65, 35–56.
Wicenciak, U. (2016). Porphyreon. Hellenistic and Roman pottery production in the Sidon hinterland (=PAM Monograph Series 7). Warsaw: PCMA.
Gwiazda, M. (2015). The marble decoration of the presbytery of the Late Antique basilica in Jiyeh (Porphyreon) – Lebanon. Światowit, 12 (53)/A, 127–142.
Dzik, M. (2015). Preliminary results of a stratigraphic analysis of late Roman and early Byzantine architecture in the residential quarter of Jiyeh. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 24/1, 475–490.
Waliszewski, T., Antos, M., Jaworski, P., Makowski, P., Romaniuk, M., Solecki, R., Szymczak, A. (2015). Preliminary report on the 2012 and 2013 excavation seasons at Jiyeh (Porphyreon): work in sector D (residential quarter). Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 24/1, 453–474.
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Gwiazda, M. (2014). Grave monuments from Jiyeh (Porphyreon) and the sepulchral art of Sidon’s chora. Archeologia, 64, 53–66.
Gwiazda, M. (2014). Economy of Hellenistic, Roman and Early Byzantine settlement in Jiyeh (Porphyreon), Lebanon. Archeologia, 62–63, 31–44.
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Frangié, D. & Wicenciak, U. (2012). Beyrouth et Jiyeh au sein des productions céramiques. Dossiers d’Archéologie, 350, 38–43.
Waliszewski, T., Juchniewicz, K. & Gwiazda, M. (2012). Preliminary report on the 2008 and 2009 excavation seasons at Jiyeh (Porphyreon) with appendices: 1. Sunken vessels in late Roman and Byzantine Houses in area D; 2. Preliminary remarks on thresholds from private houses in Jiyeh (Porphyreon). Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 21, 423–445.
Wicenciak, U. (2012). Local Hellenistic ‘Phoenician’-type amphora and Rother pottery vessels from excavations in Jiyeh (Porphyreon) (seasons 2008-2009). Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 21, 446-453.
Roumié, M., Wicenciak, U., Bakraji, E., & Nsouli, B. (2010). PIXE characterization of Lebanese excavated amphorae from Jiyeh archeological site. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms, 268(1), 87–91.
Waliszewski, T. (2008). Byzantine basilica Q. In T. Waliszewski et al., Jiyeh (Porphyreon). Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine settlement on the southern coast of Lebanon. Preliminary report on the 1997 and 2003–2005 seasons. Bulletin d’Archéologie et d’Architecture Libanaises, 10, 27–34.
Waliszewski, T. (2008). Jiyeh, Nabi Younes, Porphyreon. In T. Waliszewski et al., Jiyeh (Porphyreon). Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine settlement on the southern coast of Lebanon. Preliminary report on the 1997 and 2003–2005 seasons. Bulletin d’Archéologie et d’Architecture Libanaises, 10, 7–8.
Waliszewski, T., Wicenciak, U., El-Tayeb, M., Domżalski, K., Witecka, A., Wagner, M., Żukowski, R. (2008). Jiyeh (Porphyreon). Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine settlement on the southern coast of Lebanon. Preliminary report on the 1997 and 2003–2005 seasons. Bulletin d’Archéologie et d’Architecture Libanaises, 10, 5–80.
Waliszewski, T., Wicenciak, U., El-Tayeb, M. & Juchniewicz, K. (2006). Jiyeh: Explorations 2005. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 17, 421–429.
Domżalski, K., Wicenciak, U., El-Tayeb, M. & Waliszewski, T. (2005). Late Hellenistic and Early Roman pottery production center at Jiyeh, rescue excavations, 2004. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 16, 429–439.
Wicenciak, U., El Tayeb, M., Domżalski, K., & Waliszewski, T. (2004). Preliminary report on a salvage campaign at Jiyeh, 2004: the pottery production area. Światowit, 5 (46) Fas, 129–134.
Waliszewski, T., Kowalski, S. P. & Witecka, A. (1998). Chhim-Jiyeh excavations 1997. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 9, 139–152.
Waliszewski, T. & Kowalski, S. P. (1997). Chhim-Jiyeh excavations 1996. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 8, 147–156.