By analyzing long tubes of sediment drilled from locations in and around the Mediterranean ports of Tyre and Sidon, scientists have discovered the locations of the harbors from which legions of ancient Phoenician mariners set sail.
Tyre and Sidon, located in what is now Lebanon, were the two most important city-states of Phoenicia, a trading empire founded more than 3,000 years ago. Although archaeologists knew much about the two cities and Phoenician civilization, they have long debated the sizes and locations of the ancient harbors, says Christophe Morhange, a geoarchaeologist at the National Center for Scientific Research in Aix-en-Provence, France. Now, Morhange and his colleagues present strong evidence to settle the dispute.
The researchers drilled 25 holes within the modern city of Sidon and 30 within Tyre, recovering a sediment core at least 10 meters long from each site. From the contents of those samples, representing the past 8,000 years, the team determined