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British Museum experts to put ancient glass artifacts smashed in Beirut port explosion back together

·1-min read

Ancient glass artifacts damaged in the Beirut port explosion will be restored by experts at the British Museum.

The painstaking work will see them piece together eight ancient salvaged from a destroyed case which displayed classical and Islamic pieces in the Archaeological Museum at the American University of Beirut.

The explosion shattered them into hundreds of pieces that were in turn mixed up with broken glass from windows and cabinets.


Experts at the British Museum in London will piece together the objects after they were shattered into hundreds of pieces and mixed with broken glass from smashed cabinets and windows.

Hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive material used in fertilisers that had been improperly stored in the port for years, exploded on August 4 2020, killing more than 200 people and injuring over 6,000.

The university’s Archaeological Museum was 3.2km from the explosion and sustained heavy damage to its windows and doors.

The case the vessels were displayed in contained 74 Roman, Byzantine and Islamic period glass vessels, the British Museum said.

Most were shattered beyond repair with only 15 identified as salvageable, and only eight were deemed safe to travel to the British Museum.

Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum, said: “Like the rest of the world, we looked on in horror at the devastating scenes in Beirut in August last year.

“We immediately offered the assistance of the British Museum to colleagues in the city. As we mark one year since the tragedy, we’re pleased to be able to provide the expertise and resources of the British Museum to restore these important ancient objects so they can be enjoyed in Lebanon for many more years to come.”

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