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   Go back to the coastal Sidon-Tyre road and drive south 15 kilometers to Sarafand, ancient Sarepta. This is mentioned in the Bible and in both Assyrian and Egyptian texts. The ancient settlement is located on the coast between Ras al Qantaea and the Mausoleum of Khodr Abu Abbas, while the modern village of Sarafand lies in the neighboring hills, circa 1.5 kilometers from the coast. The modern town is fairly recent and is said to have been founded some two centuries ago. Modern access to ancient Sarepta is through a narrow street leading to the small fishing harbor.
    After twenty years of neglect, the ancient tell is now entirely covered by vegetation and nothing of the excavated remains left "in situ" can be seen. Anarchic and illegal constructions in its immediate surroundings have destroyed its natural environment.
    According to the royal annals of the Assyrian king  Sanherib, Sarepta was one of the fortified cities of Phoenician Sidon. The biblical narrative speaking of the prophet Elijah's visit to Sarepta confirms this information when it says that Sarepta is a "Sidonian town" ( I Kings 17:9). The archaeological excavations of the University if Pennsylvania on the site showed that it was settled for the first time in the middle of the second millennium B.C. and occupied without major interruption until the Byzantine period. Nineteenth century travelers had already noted on and around the tell ancient remains like columns, marble slabs and sarcophagi.
    According to the archaeological record, Sarafand was mainly a center for pottery production. An industrial zone characterized by potters kilns and workshops was uncovered.
    A shrine dedicated to the  goddess Astarte yielded a large collection of offerings, like clay figurines, models of Astarte thrones, amulets, cultic vessels... The collected material clearly showed  that Sarepta had trade relations with the Mediterranean world, as seen by imports from Egypt and the Aegean. The site also yielded a series of Phoenician and Ugaritic inscriptions, an indication that it had contacts with other cities of the Levantine coast.
    On the hills overlooking the village of Sarafand lies a first millennium necropolis. Dozens of rock-cut tombs have been looted by clandestine diggers over the years. One example of this illicitly dug material is the beautiful stone door of a tomb standing today in the garden of the Alaeddin hospital in Sarafand.

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