An ancient glass vessel damaged in the 2020 Beirut port explosion will be restored and displayed at the British Museum.

Eight Roman, Byzantine and Islamic-era ships were painstakingly assembled by the museum’s conservators and are on display at the London venue before being returned to Lebanon in late autumn.

Hartwig Fisher, director of the British Museum, said the items on display at an event called Beirut’s Broken Glass, held at the Asahi Shimbun Exhibition, “almost tell a story of destruction and recovery, resilience and cooperation. ‘ said.

Hidede van Seggelen, President of the European Art Foundation (TEFAF), said:

“Bringing these pieces back to their rightful form is a compelling symbol of resilience and we are honored to be part of this important collaboration.”


A team of conservators and student volunteers collect fragments of broken glass vessels at the Archaeological Museum of the American University of Beirut (AUB/British Museum/PA).

These relics are among the valuable items saved in an emergency recovery campaign launched after the American University (AUB) Museum in Beirut was severely damaged by an explosion in August 2020.

The ship was one of 74 Roman, Byzantine and Islamic items in the AUB case that fell in the shock wave of a port explosion three kilometers away.

The blast hit the building and shattered the glass objects inside the case.


Reconstructed Roman bowl, AD 100-300 (Archaeological Museum of the American University of Beirut, Lebanon/PA)

A team of experts has carefully reassembled hundreds of shards of glass, and the once-shattered vessel has been repaired to be structurally sound, although traces of damage can still be seen.

This means that explosion damage is part of the history of these delicate objects.

Dr Nadine Panayot, Curator of the AUB Archaeological Museum, said:


Conservation specialists working on Roman bowls 200-400 AD (Lebanon, Lebanon, Trustees of the British Museum, American University of Beirut)

“Seeing these shattered, delicate ships reassembled not only inspired the healing process, but also inspired hope for a better future.”

The British Museum said the vessels preserved at its London site are of great importance in telling the story of the development of glassblowing technology in Lebanon in the first century BC, which saw a revolution in glass production. .

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