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Chungará (Arica)

On-line version ISSN 0717-7356


HOURANI, Guita G.. THE MUMMIES OF THE HOLY VALLEY OF QANNOBINE IN LEBANON. Chungará (Arica) [online]. 2000, vol.32, n.1, pp.103-109. ISSN 0717-7356.

The Qannobine -the Qadischa Valley, the Valley of Saints, Holy Valley- in Northern Lebanon is a cornucopia of sacred religious places, where cenobites devoted themselves to God by renouncing the world. The Valley was also a refuge for the persecuted lay Christians who took abode in and around it. Although the Valley has been insufficiently studied in archaeological and ethnological theory, a recent finding confirms that it could be a gold mine for anthropologists, historians, archaeologists and environmentalists. It was between 1989 and 1991 when a group of speleologists from Groupe d'Etudes et de Recherches Souterraines du Liban were studying Asi al Hadath Grotto that they discovered a valuable treasure -human remains dating back to the thirteenth-century A.D. Eight naturally mummified bodies were unearthed with their artifacts, embroidered clothes, Syriac and Arabic manuscripts, pottery, coins and household and defense instruments. Based on preliminary studies, it is believed that the mummies are from the Maronite community of the Hadath al Gibbet village located on the edge of the Qannobine Valley. The mummies, which are now housed at the National Museum in Beirut, Lebanon, received radiographic, tomographic and dental examinations at Hotel-Dieu de France in Beirut. In 1996, samples for DNA analysis were sent to the Laboratoire d' Oncologie Moleculaire, Institue Pasteur in France. To date no scientific studies of the examination or the analysis have been made public

Keywords : Natural mummification; medieval Lebanon; mortuary practices.

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