Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ashdod-Yam and Tel Ashdod

This morning we visited Ashdod. You know, I don't think I have ever actually been to Ashdod in the past. We took b-i-l-ari (brother-in-law) with us and his savantlike knowledge of all roads in Israel proved indispensable. Ashdod is an interesting place. It is well known as being one of the cities of the Philistine pentapolis, but it seems it is in fact two sites. There is Tel Ashdod which is about 5Ks from the sea and Ashdod-Yam which was on the sea coast.

We first visited Ashdod Yam. Even though the site is mentioned in writings from the time of Sargon II of Assyria when he had to put down a usurper in 713BCE, we only found the remains of the "Kal'at Al Mina" an Arab period citadel (640-1099CE) built to protect the coast from the Byzantine navy. It is a very cool structure and we had much fun climbing around.

Tel Ashdod is a little inland. There were excavations here 30 or so years back and the site is now completely overgrown. It's actually a cow patch complete with cows. Ashdod was settled back in Paleolithic times. By the 12th century BCE it was one of the key Philistine cities. In 950 BCE it was destroyed by Pharaoh Siamun when he came a'conquering. Then it was conquered again by Sargon II in the early 8th century BCE when put down the above mentioned usurper. Then in 605 BCE Nebuchadnezzer conquered it, the Persians rebuilt it in 539 but Alexander the Great reconquered it. And so on through the Hashmonean Revolt and Roman rule. Pretty typical for a sea side city in this area.

We were up with the sun. Here is the sun rising over the buildings of Ashdod. The sky is that strange color as we are suffering through a hamsin (sharav) today.
How cool are these walls at the Ashdod Yam citadel. It's a cool place if you ignore the broken bottles, bongs and drug paraphernalia common at many urban archaeological sites.
Nice architecture with lots of arches.
Some covered by sea sand.
This is a better view of the whole citadel. It is quite big and still has a lot of standing walls.
This is a drain pipe taking roof water into a cistern which you can just see to the left. As always conservation of water must have been as important then as it is now.

After our coffee and exploration of the citadel we took off for Tel Ashdod. It is marked on google maps, but there is not really anything there except a lot of thorns and bushes and cows. It was really very cool, because you can see there was once a city here based on the tons of pottery sherds on the ground. It's my kind of site.
This is what it looks like. Not much I know, but there are signs of a big ancient city. There were excavations 30 years back but they are all overgrown by now.
These are all we could see of the old excavations. There are some signs of walls that have been uncovered.
See, there are bunches of pottery sherds strewn all over the ground.
This is b-i-l-ari negotiating the very sandy sides of the Tel. We had to pay particular mind to the large amounts of bullshit all over.

Nice place old Ashdod. I don't know that I would love to live in new Ashdod, although there does seem to be some nice houses around and the sea was very blue with a lot of campers and fishermen all doing their thing on the holiday weekend.

1 comment:

Argy.Bargy2 said...

Way back in 1968 and 1969, when I was a US student who hoped to become an archaologist, I volunteered as part of the team from Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh Pa, and worked on 'Area H' in Tel Ashdod.Much fascinating stuff was found but most never published due to illness and later death of chief archaeologist Moshe Dothan in Israel. We found cylinder seals with language that led some to conclude that the Phillistines were Mycenean Greeks.