A new excavation is beginning this summer at Ashdod-Yam that you may want to consider joining. If its location on a beautiful Mediterranean beach appeals to you, you can skip the rest of this post and sign up here.

While the site was settled for several millennia and includes an impressive Early Islamic and Crusader fortress (see photo below), the excavation will focus on the Iron Age enclosure with particular interest in the late 8th and early 7th centuries (the time when Hezekiah and Manasseh were ruling in Judah). The project’s website lists five goals for the planned five seasons of excavation:

  • To understand the history of the site during the period of Assyrian domination and hopefully to discover an Assyrian emporium.
  • To learn about the sea trade that occurred at the site.
  • To study pottery from the first half of the 7th century.
  • To discover evidence of Greek mercenaries stationed at the site on behalf of Egypt.
  • To shed light on the Philistines after their conquest by Babylon in the 6th century.

The excavation website provides more information about the history of the site, excavations during the 1960s, and a diagram of the ruins. You can also see a list of the extensive staff and support the project through a donation. The home page includes some impressive images of the site. The excavation is co-directed by Prof. Angelika Berlejung of the University of Leipzig and Dr. Alexander Fantalkin of Tel Aviv University. Registration is now open!

Ashdod-Yam aerial from west, tb121704854
Crusader fortress of Ashdod-Yam
Photo from the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands, volume 4