Claude Schaeffer/courtesy Odile Schaeffer

The bay of Minet el-Beida and Ugarit’s royal cemetery, photographed about 1930. In the foreground of the photo is the rectangular excavation area where Schaeffer began his dig. He quickly discovered rich grave goods in royal tombs. The finds bore out local legends of an ancient wealthy city that had existed nearby. The white limestone rocks on the shore of Minet el-Beida (the name means “White Harbor” in Arabic) outline the ancient seaport the Greeks called Leukos Limen (“White Harbor”). When Schaeffer uncovered the first precious objects from the tombs, he radioed Paris, “The treasure of Minet el-Beida is found!”