Tell el-Burak Project

Universität Tübingen

The site of Tell el-Burak is located on the southern Lebanese shore, 9 km south of Sidon. Since 2001, it has been excavated by a joint Lebanese-German mission. The Tell el-Burak Archaeological Project is a joint venture of the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen (represented by Jens Kamlah), the American University of Beirut (represented by Hélène Sader) and the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut - Orientabteilung (represented by Margarete van Ess). Since 2013 the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz (represented by Aaron Schmitt) is joining the project.

The excavations have uncovered in Area 3 substantial remains of an Iron Age Phoenician agricultural domain (last quarter of the 8th until mid-4th centuries BC). At the southern foot of the Tell, in Area 4, there is evidence of large-scale agricultural activity. Of particular interest is an installation for wine production (so-called “winery”, “wine press” or “treading installation”). This plastered installation (c. 8 x 4 m) consists of two components: a treading pool (usually called “treading floor”) on a higher level, and a semi-circular collecting vat.

Plaster samples of this installation and of other plastered installations inside the building structures in Area 3 have been taken to investigate the composition of building materials. The aim is to assess the uniformity or variability between different structures (wine production installation vs. plastered installations in the building structures) and within the various parts of the wine production installation, and therefore further understand the technology required to produce such structures. On this note, this project aims to determine if distinct layers of plaster can be recognised within samples from the winery and if these could correspond to different building phases (e.g. reparation activities) of this structure.


Orsingher, A., Amicone, S., Kamlah, J., Sader, H. and Berthold, C. (2020). Phoenician lime for Phoenician wine. Iron Age plaster from a wine press at Tell el-Burak, Lebanon. Antiquity 94 (377), 1224–1244.