Archaeology: Italian project for Beirut museum vaults

//National Museum of BeirutThe underground areas of the National Museum of Beirut, where the most valuable museum pieces were kept during the Lebanese civil war, will be reopened after a forty-year hiatus as part of a project funded by the Italian Development Cooperation. The works will take 18 months and cost a million euros, and were set in motion in May during a ceremony in which Lebanon's culture minister Raymond Araygi, Italian Development Cooperation chief Giampaolo Cantini, and Italian ambassador to Lebanon Giuseppe Morabito took part.

The museum's underground areas, Araygi noted, were closed off in 1975, when the hostilities that were to last until 1990 commenced. The Italian-funded project will include the drawing up of a new plan for the areas as well as the selection of exhibition displays, lighting system, exhibition routes, and the equipment for the presentation and display of archaeological finds. The exhibition will present funerary objects found in Lebanon, some of which have never before been shown to the public, dating from the pre-historic period to that of the Mamelukes (XIII-XVI century). ''The value of Lebanese cultural heritage and the role that culture can play in the country's sustainable development,'' said Giampaolo Cantini during the presentation, ''are undoubtedly among the reasons that consistently induce the Italian government to be one of the country's top partners in similar initiatives.''


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