Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tel Yavne-Yam

Tel Yavne-Yam is on the southern edge of Palmachim beach (near Rishon Lezion). Settlement here began during the Middle Bronze Age (mid second millennium BCE) and continued through the Iron Age (7th century BCE). Yavne-Yam eventually became a Hellenized city until its destruction by the Hashmoneans (second and first centuries BCE). Throughout history both the Hebrew name Yavneh and the Greek name Lamneia have been used to name the city. During the Roman period the port city became an important landing point for Christian pilgrims (it was even mentioned by the historian Pliny the Elder). As was usual along the southern Israeli coast in antiquity, cities had both coastal and inland settlements and the inland Yavneh became the important Jewish city and one of the main centers of ancient Judaism. During the early Muslim period (8-10 centruies CE), Yavne-Yam was known as the "Second Port" (Ashdod was first) and it served as one of the places where prisoners were exchanged between the Muslims and Byzantines.

We arrived at the beach at around 6:30am. We were alone except for some fishermen. From the Palmachim beach car park we took a little path down to the beach where we made our coffee.
Above is the view of Yavne-Yam from the path. It looks quite interesting with those sturdy walls. It's a bit of a let down when you actually get onto the tell. While the boy made the coffee I walked around the path and came upon these two who could not understand why we were not out fishing. I don't think this guy caught anything, but he certainly was ready for anything.
Right next to the spot the boy chose for our coffee, laying right there on the path were these. I think they are tesserae, Roman mosaic tiles. Of course, they could be some modern bathroom tiles that were dumped by some local - the area is really run down. Each one of these while stones are about a centimeter square. Some pieces are stuck together with some sort of mortar. I do think they're Roman.
Above is the view from the top of the tell looking at Tel Aviv in the distance. It's always nice to go to a site next to the sea.
The tell is in bad shape - it's obviously a place that the young of Rishon like to hang out. There are lots of beer and vodka bottles, remains of bonfires, and more than one bong, like the one above.
This is what the wall you see from the beach, looks like from on top. It must have been quite a city in its day. There is tons of pottery sherds laying around everywhere, from the beach car park to the tell was obviously part of the old city.
This is one of the few remaining walls that are standing. It's quite sad. The site is not in good shape at all. Still it was a great outing.
As we left the beach and drove by Palmachim army base, this little reminder kept us in touch with where we live. Just in case we could ever forget.

1 comment:

eti said...


My name is Eti Blechner and I'm an editor of a local newspaper in Yavne. I'd like to write about you in my paper. please send me the word version + pictures, in Hebrew if possible, to my mail