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
Tomasz Waliszewski (Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw)
– 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:
2016-09 EXHIBITION AND CONFERENCE: People, Places, Monuments. 20 Years of Polish–Lebanese Cooperation in Archaeology and Conservation (1996–2016)
2015-05 Conference on Polish archaeological and conservation work in Lebanon
2014-09 “Forgotten Heritage. Polish Conservators in Lebanon”
2013-09 Gold Cross of Merit for Dr. Mounir Atallah
2009-12 Workshop: German and Polish Archaeological Projects in Lebanon (Berlin)
1998 – exhibition at the Kazimierzowski Palace (University of Warsaw)
Exhibition in Geneva
Selected news and popular publications:
See also the project’s bibliography on Academia.edu: The Joint Expedition to Chhim and Jiyeh, Lebanon. Polish-Lebanese Mission
Waliszewski, T. and Burdajewicz, J. (2019). Unearthing Houses in Porphyreon and Chhim. Structure, Spatial Development, and Decoration of Domestic Spaces in Late Antique Phoenicia, Światowit 58, 173–195 DOI: 10.31338/0082-044X.swiatowit.58.10
Gwiazda, M., Waliszewski, T., (2019). Jiyeh (Porphyreon) 1975 excavation season. Roger Saidah’s archaeological works in the residential Sector D, Archaeology & History in the Lebanon 50–51, 164–198.
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.
Piątkowska-Małecka, J. (2017). Mammals in the economy of ancient Porphyreon (Lebanon), Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 26/1, 453–473, DOI: 10.5604/01.3001.0012.1800
Badura, M. et al. (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. (2016). A Hybrid Style Terracotta Protoma from Porphyreon (Central Phoenicia), Zeitschrift für Orient-Archäologie, 9, 118–133.
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 (=Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean Monograph Series 7). Warszawa: PCMA. doi.org/10.31338/uw.9788323547341
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.
Gwiazda, M. (2015). The marble decoration of the presbytery of the Late Antique basilica in Jiyeh (Porphyreon) – Lebanon. Światowit, 12 (53)/A, 127–142.
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.
Waliszewski, T. & Gwiazda, M. (2015). Porphyreon through the ages: the fading archaeological heritage of the Lebanese coast, Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies, 3(4), 330–348.
Waliszewski, T. & Wicenciak, U. (2015). Jiyeh (Porphyreon). Nouvelles découvertes sur le territoire de Sidon à l’époque hellénistique. Topoi Supplément, 13, 155–179.
Jakubiak, K., (2014–2015). Painted decorations in the Jiyeh tombs. Archaeology & History in the Lebanon, 40–41, 146–153.
Gwiazda, M. (2014). Economy of Hellenistic, Roman and Early Byzantine settlement in Jiyeh (Porphyreon), Lebanon. Archeologia, 62–63, 31–44.
Gwiazda, M. (2014). Grave monuments from Jiyeh (Porphyreon) and the sepulchral art of Sidon’s chora. Archeologia, 64, 53–66.
Wicenciak, U. (2014). Pottery production in the Late Hellenistic and Early Roman Periods at Jiyeh – ancient Porphyreon (Lebanon). In B. Fischer-Genz, Y. Gerber, & H. Hamel (Eds.), Roman pottery in the Near East: Local production and regional trade. Proceedings of the round table held in Berlin, 19–20 February 2010 (pp. 103–124). Oxford: Archaeopress.
Domżalski, K., (2013). Terra Sigillata, Red Slip and Glazed Wares from Jiyeh (Porphyreon) and Chhim in Lebanon. Similarities and differences in supplying coastal and mountain customers, Archeologia. LXIV, 23–51.
Szulc-Kajak, A. (2013). Fishing gear from Jiyeh (Porphyreon). Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 22, 334–340.
Waliszewski, T. and Gwiazda, M. (2013). Preliminary report on the 2010 excavation season at Jiyeh (Porphyreon). Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 22, 321–333.
Frangié, D. & Wicenciak, U. (2012). Beyrouth et Jiyeh au sein des productions céramiques. Dossiers d’Archéologie, 350, 38–43.
Waliszewski, T., Juchniewicz, K. and 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.
Waliszewski, T. (2011). Lamp-Mould from Jiyeh (Southern Lebanon), Frangie, D., Salles, J.-F. (red.), A variant of ovoid lamos in the Byzantine and Early Islamic Levant, Lampes Antiques du Bilad es Sham. Jordanie, Syrie, Liban, Palestine, Actes du Colloque de Petra-Amman (6–13 novembre 2005), 357–384.
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 Libanaise, 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 Libanaise, 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 Libanaise, 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. and Kowalski, S. P. (1997). Chhim-Jiyeh Excavations 1996. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 8, 147–156.