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through the stone about a foot deep. Many of these reservoirs were filled with a breccia of shells, such as are represented in the accompanying woodcut. In other places, where the pots were
empty, this breccia lay in heaps in the neighbourhood, as well as along the shore of this part of the peninsula. It instantly struck me on seeing these apertures, that they were the vats or mortars in which was manufactured the Tyrian dye. I am confirmed in this opinion by the fact that the species of shell discovered in this breccia, corresponds exactly with
that described by the old authors as that from which the colour was extracted, and from which a purple dye can be obtained even at the present day; and it is acknowledged as such by modern naturalists.
Although I broke up large quantities of these masses, in no instance could I find a single unbroken specimen, which I certainly would have found had they been rolled in from the sea, or were in a fossilized state. I picked up one of the recent shells upon the shore, which corresponds in every respect with those found in the conglomerate. The stones in the vicinity of this place were covered with large Serpulæ.
The binding material of this mass of shells, is lime and a trace of strontian ; and the only thing found in connection with them are a few pebbles. This substance is of great weight, and adamantine hardness, and is of the same character as the petrified strand which I have already mentioned as existing at Rhodes and in Karamania. Now it seems to me more than probable, that the shells were collected into these holes, or, as they might be more properly called, mortars, in which they were pounded, for the purpose of extracting from them the juice which the animal contained ; and in this opinion I am borne out by Pliny the
naturalist, who says, that “when the Tyrians light up any great purples, they take the fish out of the shells to get the blood, but the lesser they press and grind in certain mills, and so gather that rich humour which issueth from them.”
These vats may have been also used for steeping the cloth ; for dying pots, cut either in the rock or formed of baked clay sunk in the earth, are still found in many parts of the east, and may be seen in use in some of the by-streets of Alexandria and Grand Cairo, bearing some resemblance to our tan-pits. Such places as these are still used for indigo-dying throughout Africa.
The shells of which this mass is composed (a portion of which is now in my possession) are all of one species, and are undoubtedly the murex trunculus, which conchologists admit was one of the species from which the Tyrian dye was obtained ; but until now no proof could be given of its being the actual shell. Two specimens of the recent shell are here exhibited
- the larger is from the coast about Smyrna ; the smaller I picked up in the vicinityof these very dye-pots. A subject of such extreme interest, connected with the arts and manufactures of the first of commercial cities, will, I am sure, require but little apology for devoting a few pages of the appendix to an inquiry into the nature and properties of the Tyrian dye.*
On the seaboard line of the peninsula, and running north and south of it, parallel with the shore, is a reef of what now appears to be rocks, just rising above the water, and forming, of course, the western boundary of both harbours. A question arises if this breakwater be natural or artificial.
During the whole of our stay at Tyre, the wind blew strongly from the outh-west, and the sea breaking violently on these rocks, particularly the southern, precluded the possibility of a close
* See Appendix M.
CONSOLIDATION OF THE ROCKS.
examination.* We, however, got a boat near enough the northern side of the reef to allow us to land. The soindings close to the rocks outside were ten fathoms, and continued decreasing gradually to the shore. It is difficult to say whether this reef is natural or not. There are evident marks of art upon it; and although a reef may have originally existed here, I have no doubt but that much has been added to it by the labour of man, as in many places it has, decidedly, the appearance of Cyclopean workmanship. Whether those parts of the rocks which appear squared, are the natural ones cut into this form, or blocks carried out and placed there, is also difficult to determine. There is, however, a peculiar consolidating power in the water all along this coast, that has filled up the interstices, and makes the whole appear as one solid stone, in the same manner as the beach at Rhodes and along the coast of Asia Minor has been converted for miles into a petrified conglomerate. The cathon at Jaffa, which we know is artificial, bears now a very similar appearance. Mr. Lyell attributes the consolidation of the beach in Asia Minor, to the streams which run into the sea holding carbonate of lime in abundance, and precipitating travertine, or binding sand, gravel, &c., into a conglomerate, as at Rhodes. But here there is no stream of fresh water, so that it must have been produced either by the action of the sea water, or the atmosphere. The shell conglomerate found in the dying pots presents a similar formation. Where this reef joins the peninsula at the north-west corner, are the remains of an ancient Pharos; and beyond it is a gap or passage, which was probably the western entrance to the northern harbour, and which corresponds with the point where Alexander, when besieging the city, made one of his principal attacks.
We are told that there were anciently two harbours; the one open, the other shut. The southern was called the Egyptian port; and the Shereef Edrisi says that one had an arch over it,
* On reading over Quintius Curtius, while revising this second edition, I was greatly struck with the following passage—“ The strait which separated Tyre from the continent, was four stadia broad; it was much exposed to the south-west wind, which drove crowding waves from the main sea against the work; nor does any thing more obstruct the work by which the Macedonians prepare to connect the island and the continent than this wind!"
and was fortified by a chain drawn across its entrance. Where the reef joins the south-western corner, are the remains of enormous Cyclopean work, evidently created to form a breakwater: and connecting it with the land are the ruins of what appear to have been buildings of a great size, but which are now sunk some feet under the water, leaving only two or three large arches visible above the surface.
There is one more subject connected with this very remarkable place, that naturally arises out of the inquiry as to its present and former state ; and that is—whether the small peninsula marked on the map can be that on which the whole of the ancient city stood; and whether the present relative positions of land and water are now the same as those existing at the time of Alexander's conquest. In some travels published many years ago, it was hinted that it was probable that much of the peninsula of Tyre had been submerged; and this is further verified, both by the observations of Count de Bertou, and the examination which I made of the place. I cannot, however, agree with this traveller in supposing that a large tract of land, and much of the ruins of the city, are beneath the surface. Our opinions correspond as to the northern reef being the remains of the ancient harbour on that side ; but the Count states, that he was informed by some spongedivers, that a sub-marine bank extends from the point which I have marked as “ submerged ruins" on the map, in a S. S. W. direction, towards Cape Blanco, a distance of two miles. This, he says, “we partly examined, and found it covered by water to a depth of one to three fathoms, and measuring in breadth from twelve to fourteen yards.” This bank he supposes to have been the breakwater to the southern port ; but whether it is natural or artificial he was unable to determine.*
* Count de Bertou seems to have taken up this subject with great energy, and has petitioned the president of the Geographical Society at Paris to prevail on the government to send out a diving-bell, to explore these submarine ruins. Although I am not so sanguine as the Swiss traveller, yet the most interesting results may be anticipated.
While these pages are passing through the press, Lieutenant Skyring, R. E., writes to me :-"I am inclined to agree with Count de Bertou that much of the ruins are beneath the surface. I am aware, partly from my own soundings, and partly from my belief in the old boatman with whom
HAS THE SEA RISEN ?
The smallness of the peninsula compared with the probable extent of the ancient city—the submerged reef, or ancient pier, running north and south on both sides of it-the ruins which I have pointed out at the southern extremity, and the ancient town wall, now standing in the water at the landing-place, all afford conclusive proof of the sea-line having altered at this point many feet from its ancient position. But has the land sunk? or if the sea has risen, has the Mediterranean generally risen? To decide this point geologists have principally confined their observations and reasonings to the celebrated temple of Serapis, in the bay of Baiæ, on which much has been already written ; but the prevalence of earthquakes, and the continued volcanic action going forward there, prevents a fair analogy being established with it and other parts of the Mediterranean.
Commencing at the gulf of Glaucus, I have pointed out tombs, and the walls of the city of Telmessus, now surrounded by water,
I was, that a submarine bank extends from the south-west angle of the peninsula in a S. S. W. direction towards Cape Blanco, and that for a distance (to the best of my recollection) of nearly two miles. I sounded a good deal about Tyre, and on the north and west it was evident that large blocks of masonry lay scattered at the bottom. The point on the north is, I may say, one mass of ruins : I examined some beautiful pillars lying there.
“From nearly opposite the old Saracenic castle or tower on the south of the isthmus, there runs for many hundred yards, in a south-westerly direction, apparently a reef of rocks, but on close inspection I perceived they were artificial; and it struck me at the moment that they formed, once upon a time,' a row of double columns to a piazza or colonnade to the ancient port of Tyre-probably they may have formed the piers of the aqueduct conducting the water from the cisterns at Marshuk’ into the island; but whatever their use, this I am perfectly convinced of, viz. that they were artificial, and at present so covered with a breccia as to lead one to imagine them a reef of rocks. These facts go a great way in leading me to suppose that there are other hidden beauties, only requiring to be seen to be appreciated properly. I am inclined to agree with you, that the sea has encroached, or rather that Tyre has been submerged; and this opinion is not confined to Tyre alone, for every part of the coast of Syria which I have seen apparently has also. I nevertheless am of opinion that earthquakes and volcanic agency have had a great deal to do in the destruction of Tyre." The observations and measurements of Mr. Skyring have been added to the map published with this edition.