Lebanon’s national museum reveals long-hidden treasure

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Beirut’s National Museum has opened its long time closed basement of ancient treasures for the first time in four decades to show to the public its mind blowing array of funerary art, plus the world’s largest collection of anthropoid sarcophogi.

The new exhibition’s 520 pieces contain from the Paleolithic era to the Ottoman Empire. They have Phoenician stelae and very rare medieval Christian mummies with the anthropoid coffins, which shows a human face on the sarcophogus and were long a standard for the elite.

Some of the items have never before been on shown to public display.

Other rare pieces have not been displayed since the 1970s, when the museum was forcibly to closed because it was on the front line that ran by the city during Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war.

“This is a lesson in brave and hope because 41 years after the museum was shuts in 1975, we today are able to get visitors on three floors,” says museum main director Anne-Marie Maila Afeiche.

The archaeological museum was recreated after the years of war  and shelling damaged its building and exhibits, and open again in the 1990s.

But the current stuffs is the first time its basement has been open since after the civil war.

Among the treasures of often breathtaking items is a part of a Roman sarcophagus found in Beirut that depicts the false of Icarus, who is shown with his father Daedalus, making his small-fated wings.

Another diamond is an extraordinary hypogeum — an underneth tomb — accidentally found by a farmer in the Tyre region in 1937.

It is covered with frescoes inspired by Greek mythology, plus a scene of Priam on bended knee begging Achilles to return the body of  son Hector.