THE NIHA SITES (LEBANON) CULTURAL LANDSCAPE: A 3D MODEL OF SANCTUARIES AND THEIR CONTEXT
Keywords: Cultural landscape, built-up archaeology, 3D model, sanctuary, temple, quarry, Niha, Beqaa
Abstract. The paper aims at presenting the historical sites of Niha (Beqaa valley, Lebanon), their cultural values, and the methodology applied in the assessment of these values through the use of 3D modelling.
The whole cultural landscape comprises the current village of Niha (altitude 1100 m), the archaeological site of Hosn-Niha (altitude 1350m), and the area located between these two sites. Two rural sanctuaries constitute the major archaeological remains present in the landscape: the first, located in the village of Niha, is composed of two roman temples with various archaeological structures; the second is located at the top of an antique settlement 2,5 km above the village of Niha. This second sanctuary Hosn-Niha, includes two temples, one church, remnants of numerous structures, and remains of an antique village. The cultural and religious values of both these sites are clear. However, questions arise regarding the choice for establishing the sanctuaries in these locations.
The aim of the research is to try to understand the reasons for the various settlements in relationship with the topography and the landscape. The methodology applied in the research addresses two levels: a – The landscape level, and b – the built-up archaeology level.
The global 3D models of both the landscape and the sanctuaries allow us to understand the various relations between the landscape, the sanctuaries and the various archaeological structures. An assessment of the various cultural resources found around the sanctuaries, while considering the reasons for their specific placement in the landscape can shed light on the reasons of these choices.