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Lebanon battles to get its treasures back

A marble bull’s head and a statue of a calf bearer, stolen in 1981, are due to return to Lebanon after a legal battle with private collectors in the United States.
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The Temple of Eshmun is the best-preserved Phoenician site in Lebanon. Located close to the southern city of Sidon, the temple was dedicated to the Phoenician god of healing and renewal, one of the ancient culture’s most important deities. Hundreds of artifacts unearthed during excavations were looted by militias during the civil war and sold on the black market, disappearing without a trace. Almost four decades later, two of these objects, worth millions of dollars, are due to return to Lebanon.

Archaeologist Anne Marie Afeiche, the director of the National Museum of Beirut, told Al-Monitor that the two artifacts were unearthed during excavations at the Temple of Eshmun in 1967. One is a marble bull’s head measuring roughly a foot high and the other a marble statue of a calf bearer.

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