Since 2013, a team led by Dominque Parayre, Professor Emeritus at Lille 3 University (UMR 7041 ArScAn, VEPMO team (Du village à l'état au Proche et au Moyen-Orient), Maison de l'Archéologie et de l'Ethnologie, 92 Nanterre, France) has taken part in the Mission Archéologique d'Enfeh, directed by Nadine Panayot-Haroun (head of the Department of Archaeology and Museology of the University of Balamand).
Nadine Panayot-Haroun, director of the Department of Archaeology and Museology (DAM), University of Balamand, Lebanon
Dominique Parayre, Professor Emeritus, UMR 7041 ArScAn, VEPMO team (Du village à l’état au Proch et au Moyen-Orient), Maison de l’Archéologie et de l’Ethnologie (MAE), Nanterre, France
Location and historical summary
Situated 15 km south of Tripoli, the town of Enfeh belongs to one of the least-known regions of northern Lebanon. This area, still preserved from the massive urbanisation of the country, comprises a narrow coastal strip and an inland region of rolling hills which run to the foothills of Mount Lebanon. The coast is marked by a headland 400 m long and 100 m wide, at the south end of which lies the old centre of the modern town.
Although Enfeh is mentioned in historical texts as having existed in the Late Bronze Age under the name of Ambi and later in the 7th century BC as Ampa, neither survey nor excavations have yet enabled us to identify the location of those sites. However, though no ancient texts mention the site during the classical era, many remains found during excavation and survey attest to the site’s importance between the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods.
During the Crusades, the promontory which juts out into the sea was transformed into a fortress and the lordship of Nehpin or Anafa, under the rule of the County of Tripoli, was known for its wine. The fortress was captured in 1289 and then gradually demolished (all that remains today are a section of wall and two rock-cut ditches which cut across the headland).
The first saltworks at Enfeh, whose salt is among the most renowned in Lebanon, appeared in the Ottoman period and these developed under the French Mandate, to such an extent that they covered virtually all of the headland and several areas along the coast and further inland.
Since 2012, the University of Balamand, under the direction of Nadine Panayot-Haroun, has run the Mission Archéologique d’Enfeh, whose aim is to produce an archaeological map of the town and its surrounding area, as well as the excavation of part of the rocky promontory that characterises the town’s shore. Since 2013, a French team led by Dominique Parayre (MAE René-Ginouvès) has taken part in the project.
Archaeological excavations conducted on the Enfeh headland have so far revealed cisterns from the Byzantine period and some remains of the Medieval fortress, in the form of rock-cut features and two levels of conserved floors dating to the 13th century. No traces of earlier occupations were found however, except in the fill layers. Survey of the shoreline and of several undeveloped hills further inland revealed a number of sites dating from the Byzantine and Modern periods, but no conclusive evidence of an earlier settlement.
How Eveha International Participates
French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development
CNRS/University of Paris 1, UMR 7041 ArScAn, VEPMO team
University of Balamand
IFPO Beirut (Institut Français du Proche-Orient)