The Tel Dor Archaeological Expedition

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Area D1 (and D4): 2005

This was UC Berkeley's 17th season at Dor and the University of Washington's 3rd season. The combined team totaled twelve staff and 57 volunteers (40 on-site at any one time), and included six graduate students on scholarships generously funded by Berkeley's College of Letters and Science. The six-week excavation campaign lasted from late June through early August.

Much of our attention was concentrated on the "big building", an extensive Phase 1 Roman complex discovered in 2004 that at various times housed a bath, an industrial establishment for processing liquids (wine?), and (this year's discovery) what may have been a bakery. The latter, supplied with warm water from the city's piping system, included several ovens (tabuns), presumably for baking bread, and an eroded circular floor with a hole at center. Possibly this was where the local donkey plodded round and round, patiently turning the millstones. Next door, a floor made of crushed shells yielded a rich deposit of complete Roman vessels, glassware, coins, and conch shells from the Red Sea. Its excavators aptly nicknamed it the "money pit."

Meanwhile, on the south side of the "big building" a hard slog through largely robbed foundations finally got us down to the late Hellenistic period and the top of what may be a palatial complex. The Israelis excavated its south-eastern quadrant in the 1990s ("Big Mother Wall"), and it remains by far the best candidate for the location of our amazing garland and mask mosaic discovered in 2000. One bonus was an early Roman (Phase 2) wall completely constructed of elements from our Hellenistic Doric colonnade, including a fifth column capital, proving that these fragments do not come from a tetrastyle temple or propylon.

Meanwhile, new topsoil squares to the west of the "big building" uncovered a late Roman structure with yet another industrial establishment below; the design of the kilns and some curving ceramic funnels suggest that we may have chanced on a glass furnace. Finally, we at last reached the northern corner of our Hellenistic "monument", which is beginning to look increasingly like a stoa - the source for our Doric colonnade? Laid against it, we found a corner of the western coast road - the early Roman (Phase 2) "Embarcadero" - and at the bottom of a British WWII trench that cut through it, a Hellenistic or Persian pavement to tease us for seasons to come.

So the later occupational sequence on this side of the city is gradually becoming clearer. The Hellenistic free-standing monumental buildings (Phase 4) were gradually encroached upon by smaller structures (Phase 3), then gave way entirely to small, early Roman industrial establishments (Phase 2); then, around 100 CE came a resurgence of monumental (but not necessarily non-industrial) building (Phase 1): a rich haul. Finally, around 230 CE, the area was abandoned along with the rest of the site, for reasons unknown.

We plan to return to all this in 2006. We have at least two large Hellenistic buildings to pursue, and the rest of the Roman industrial establishments to dig as well.

Yearly reports for Area D:
1998, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006

Please direct all excavation related inquiries to Professor Sarah Stroup at
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