The Tel Dor Archaeological Expedition

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Area G : 1986

We began digging in Area G in an attempt to locate the center of the ancient city. (The lines of the city's main roads cross here, and so this is where the city center ought to be.) We opened three 5 x 5 m. squares, running in a line from north to south. In our southernmost square we quickly uncovered a late Roman stone pavement, which because of its size and the absence of wheel ruts running in any one direction may well be part of the central plaza. Opening a new square to the east of this we discovered the crossing of two large drains, which supported this theory. In our northernmost square we found a Roman foundation, which seemed fairly modest in size to begin with, but which expanded, as we dug down, to swallow over half of the square. Reminded of the old Steve McQueen movie, we christened this monster "the Blob". Since it is clearly only a part of a massive building, we decided to pursue it further the next season. Between "the Blob" and the Roman pavement soon appeared the earlier, Hellenistic levels of our piazza, these being floored with crushed local sandstone or kurkar. Below these, in the central square, came to light one of the two most exciting finds of the season in this area: a large deposit of over a dozen storage jars with their contents preserved; and next to them, a big pile of murex shells. The jars appear to date from the late Persian period (4th century B.C.) and to come from a variety of trade centers, including the Greek islands. Their contents have yet to be analyzed, but olive pits were clearly recognizable when we dug them.

Our second major find in this area came very late in the season, as we continued to pursue the "Blob" down and down, as it cut through Hellenistic, Persian, and Phoenician material, coming to rest on a layer of mud-brick. The pottery found in this deposit is clearly Iron Age, which (though it may not sound particularly spectacular) means that we have reached the period of Jewish independence, the age of the kings, prior to the Assyrian conquest of 732 B.C. This, at about seven feet down, is quite extraordinary and very exciting, considering that elsewhere on the tel this material has hitherto only appeared after many years' digging, at twenty feet down or more.

Persian pots associated with a pile of murex shells

Yearly reports for Area G:
1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991 , 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997

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