The ninth campaign of architectural surveys and archaeological excavations in Tyre took place from October 3 to 29, 2016.
Following the previous missions, the general topographical and architectural plan was continued. The topographical surveys, realized to understand the main buildings of this approx. 8.6 ha. wild site, also kept on. The scale of this field work is proportional to the number and high density of built elements on the site.
The works primarily concerned the area east and south of the cathedral (Sector 1), the area between the stepped building (Sector 2) and the martyrium, the area west of the western palestra (Sector 3), and finally the area east and south-east of the baths. Global research on hydraulic installations was also carried out. During this campaign, the ceramic artefacts were again collected in number.
In Sector 1, to the east and south of the Cathedral, upright and below the modern road, over a height of 4.50 m, a large east-west section started in 2015 was continued on two new sections. The study of the Byzantine tetrapyl was then undertaken in connection with this section.
In Sector 2, between the cisterns and Sector 4, a section was made to check the connection between the monumental buildings. It highlighted important Hellenistic levels in place as well as a potentially promising area from the Iron Age to the Byzantine era.
In the thermal part of Sector 3, two surveys were opened. One revealed the foundations of a castellum which supplied the boilers of the baths. The other helped specify the ancient phases of the service area of these baths.
In the western part of Sector 3, to the west of the western palestra, on the edge of the “Phoenician rampart”, there are anterior and posterior constructions and soils in connection with this latter. A survey conducted down to the water table showed the importance of Iron age II levels.
One of the challenges of the past few years has been to determine the chronology of the stepped monument’s different states within Sector 2. The combination of stratigraphic, hydro-archaeological, ceramological and architectural observations has allowed important progress. Thus, in 2016, the relative and absolute chronology of Sector 2 constructions has been largely clarified.
Post-excavation work continued this year in the framework of the current publication, a synthesis of the observations of the missions conducted between 2008 and 2013. The vectorisation and formatting of the surveys, used as a basis for the architectural study, were carried out.
To complement the topographical and architectural surveys conducted in Sectors 2 and 3 in recent years, detailed surveys of the marble and mosaic floors of the latrines and basins of the thermal block have been undertaken. The digital dense correlation photogrammetry technique was implemented with Agisoft PhotoScan software. This work was led in the cold swimming pool area of the baths, in the latrine area and to the west of the western palestra.