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Phoenician man of Carthage returns to land of ancestors through American University of Beirut museum exhibit
The skeleton used to remodel the 2,500-year-old man from Byrsa, rebaptised Ariche -- meaning the desired man --, is seen during an exhibition at the American University of Beirut on January 30, 2014. Ariche has regained an almost living human appearance very close in physiognomy to a Carthaginian of the 6th century B.C. after a dermoplastic reconstruction undertaken in Paris by Elisabeth Daynes, a sculptor specialising in hyper-realistic reconstructions. Repatriated to Tunisia on September 24, 2010, Ariche is now on show in Lebanon, the land of the Phoenicians who founded Carthage. AFP PHOTO/JOSEPH EID.

BEIRUT.- The AUB Archaeological Museum opened a special exhibition on January 29, 2014, showcasing a reconstruction of a Phoenician man, whose 2500-year-old skeleton was discovered in Tunis, in 1994.

The reconstruction uses criminal investigation techniques and dermoplasty, a procedure that relies on skin grafts to recreate molds, to produce an impressive, life-like prototype of a Phoenician man, which was accomplished by Elisabeth Daynes, a French dermoplastic sculptor and specialist.

Estimated to be between 19 and 24 years old at time of death, the young man of Carthage was about 170 centimeters tall, and bore physical features that have come to be associated with Phoenicians – a broad forehead, high orbits and long skull. The reconstruction is considered to be 95 percent accurate, since the color of eyes, hair, and skin could not be verified through criminal investigation techniques.

He was named Arish, or “the beloved one,” according to Punic inscriptions.

As is often the case with archaeological finds, his skeleton was discovered by mistake, when the curator of the Tunis National Museum, Abedelmagid Ennable, was trying to plant a tree back in 1994, and while digging, he uncovered a tomb, where Arish was buried.

According to legend, Elissa the daughter of the king of Tyre, founded Carthage around 814 B.C. With time Tyre’s colony became an important economic and commercial power in the Mediterranean.

“When I found out about Arish during an international museum meeting in Paris, I was thrilled and eager to invite him to the AUB museum and the land of his ancestors,” said Leila Badre, museum director. “This is the first time we import an exhibition.”

While the recreated man was brought to AUB, it was not possible to ship his skeleton, due to the difficulty of transporting human bones across countries. Instead, the museum decided to show one of the skeletons in its own collection.

Arish, along with some items discovered in the tomb, will be on display at the AUB Museum, in an exhibition entitled “The Young Phoenician Man of Carthage,” organized by the Society of the Friends of the AUB Museum in collaboration with the National Museum of Carthage. The exhibition will run from January 29 to February 26, 2014. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Exceptionally, the museum will also open on weekends between 11:00 am and 5:00 pm. For more information, please call 01-340 549.

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