|Colonia Iulia Augusta Felix Berytus||Latin|
|Biruta||Akkadian cuneiform - Amarna letters|
renowned in the Roman world as a commercial center but most especially for its school of law, which flourished from the third to the sixth centuries CE.(Issam Ali Khalifeh in Meyers, 1997). The Beirut Quake of 551 CE apparently caused the city to shrink in size. Archaeological excavations in the port area of Beirut where the old Roman/Byzantine city was located have been limited.
Marriner et al (2008) reported on 20 cores taken in Beirut's buried ancient harbor; none of which contained apparent tsunamites. However, the tsunami may have left evidence in other parts of the city. Some of their discussion regarding tsunamogenic evidence is discussed below:
Excavations undertaken in Beirut's harbour by Curvers et al. have revealed the presence of tree branches and considerable amounts of unabraded Roman pottery and rubble in 6-7th century AD layers (Curvers, personal communication). Surveys in the Ottoman harbour have unearthed harbour muds and silts which lie unconformably above sea-scoured bedrock (Curvers and Stuart, 2004). These have been attributed to tsunami action and indirectly infer considerable damage to the city's seaport infrastructure. This archaeological evidence, coupled with the stratigraphic data, support major changes in the port's configuration at this time. At no point during the Islamic and medieval periods do we record such a well-protected harbour. In light of this, there appears to be a clear link between the retraction of the Byzantine Empire to its Anatolian core and the catastrophic destruction of many parts of Beirut, including its harbour area, during the 551 AD earthquake and tsunami.
Although sedimentary traces of the tsunami impacts are not observed in the cores, recent excavations suggest that the ancient sources did not exaggerate in their description of the archaeological destruction caused by the event (Curvers and Stuart, 2004). New research has yielded closely dated stratigraphic sequences at a number of dig sites that unequivocally corroborate the widespread earthquake damage (Elayi and Sayegh, 2000; Curvers and Stuart, in press). In the aftermath, Beirut underwent altering patterns of trade, production and consumption. The archaeology also shows that many parts of the city were left in partial ruin or even abandoned, with limited evidence for reconstruction. Mikati and Perring (2006) present a model of 'continuity' but degradation of urban infrastructure at post-earthquake Beirut. Dating of raised shorelines north of Beirut confirms uplift of 50-80 cm (Morhange et al., 2006).
presence of tree branches and considerable amounts of unabraded Roman pottery and rubble in 6-7th century AD layers (Curvers, personal communication).
Surveys in the Ottoman harbour have unearthed harbour muds and silts which lie unconformably above sea-scoured bedrock (Curvers and Stuart, 2004).