A Neo-Assyrian Compound in Israel

The fate of Ashdod-Yam was always connected to the capital city of Ashdod, one of the five major Philistine cities during the Iron Age. After Ashdod revolted against the Assyrians in the late 8th century B.C., the army of the Neo-Assyrian king Sargon II took over the cities Ashdod, Gath and Asdudimmu; the latter is identified with the site of Ashdod-Yam (Ashdod-by-the-Sea).

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This summer, join the international team, which intends to continue the excavations of the Iron Age compound at Ashdod-Yam to find out what happened when the Assyrians crushed Ashdod and expanded the nearby city of Ashdod-Yam. During a new excavation season we will continue with the exposure of enormous system of fortifications from the Iron Age IIB (8th–7th centuries B.C.), discovered earlier. We shall also attempt to locate a man-made harbor at Ashdod-Yam and clarify the nature of Hellenistic occupation, traces of which (including what seems to be an earthquake destruction) were already discovered as well. The excavations will shed light on the modes of Assyrian imperial control of subjected areas, clarifying the nature of interaction between different peoples in the Mediterranean melting pot at Ashdod-Yam.

Alexander Fantalkin

Alexander FantalkinDr. Alexander Fantalkin teaches in the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures at Tel Aviv University.

Angelika Berlejung

Angelika BerlejungDr. Angelika Berlejung teaches in the Department of Theology at the University of Leipzig (Germany) and Department of Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Stellenbosch University (South Africa).

Dig Directors

Alexander Fantalkin
Angelika Berlejung

Geographic Location

On the Mediterranean coast in modern Ashdod, 3 miles northwest of Tel Ashdod

Periods of Occupation

Bronze Age through Crusader period
Current Dig: Iron Age II, Hellenistic

Dates of the Dig

July 9 – August 6, 2017

Minimum Stay

2 Weeks

Application Due

May 15, 2017


$600 per week (transferred or paid in shekels) — airfare not included

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

Up to 6 credits available — Tel Aviv University


Volunteers will stay at the Ort Yami-Ashdod naval officers’ boarding school in the city of Ashdod. The place is located at the bottom of Giv’at Yonah (Jonah’s Hill: which is named after the prophet Jonah, who is believed to be buried there) and a short walking distance from the famous Mediterranean beaches.


Dr. Alexander Fantalkin
Department of Archaeology & Ancient Near Eastern Cultures
Tel Aviv University
Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel
Phone: +972-54-5721866

Open for tours

Yes - by appointment