‘Atiqot 74 (2013)
Underwater Ptolemaic Coin Hoards from Megadim
Danny Syon, Catharine Lorber and Ehud Galili
Keywords: Mediterranean coast, numismatics, marine archaeology, shipwreck, mint, commerce, trade
In the shallow underwater zone adjacent to Nahal Megadim on the Carmel coast, a concentration of bronze objects, among them coins from the Hellenistic and Mamluk periods, were discovered. The coins belonged to three hoards: 55 medium-sized Ptolemaic bronze coins (Hoard 1), probably from the joint reign of Cleopatra III and Ptolemy IX; 19 silver tetradrachms (Hoard 2), ranging from Ptolemy VIII to Ptolemy X (152/1–100/99 BCE); and 10 bronze coins that were found within an amphora (Hoard 3), dating between c. 180(?) and 168 BCE. It is likely that the Ptolemaic silver coins of Hoard 2 belonged to the ship’s owner, a crew member or a passenger, and were current at the time the ship was lost, thus suggesting that the ship was Ptolemaic. The presence of Ptolemaic, Seleucid and Lycian coins in Hoard 3 attests that the ship visited diverse ports, one of its last stops being in Egypt or, more likely, Cyprus.
A Late Bronze Age Cemetery on the Coast of Palmahim
Eli Yannai, Ram Gophna, Shmuel Liphshitz and Yuval Liphshitz
Keywords: Mediterranean coast, necropolis, burial, burial offerings, typology, metal, scarab
A total of 23 tombs were excavated in the Palmahim Northern Cemetery, located on the shore, some 200 m south of Nahal Soreq’s outlet to the Mediterranean Sea, just north of Yavne-Yam. The tombs were hewn in bedrock and lined with stone slabs, a method of burial that is almost unique in the Late Bronze Age in Israel. The pottery from the Northern Cemetery was in a fine state of preservation, pointing to various production techniques, such as knife-paring, slipping, burnishing and painting. The assemblage, dating between the late fourteenth and the beginning of the thirteenth centuries BCE, includes local wares alongside imported vessels from Cyprus—Base Ring Ware, White Slip Ware, Plain White Wheel-Made Ware and Red Lustrous Wheel-Made Ware. Also found were imports from the Lebanese coast and a Mycenaean piriform jar. The high proportion of imports at Palmahim reflects the economic and cultural aspects of the region during the Late Bronze Age.
A Thirteenth-Century BCE Site on the Southern Beach of Ashdod
(with contributions by Yossi Nagar, Shlomit Israeli, Hamoudi Khalaily, Dror Segal and Israel Carmi, Dalia Hakker-Orion, Eldad Barzilay, Pirhiya Nahshoni and Eyal Tishler)
Keywords: Mediterranean coast, maritime trade, agriculture, wine production, trading port, commerce, tramping, flint, stones, fauna, archaeozoology, physical anthropology, radiocarbon dating
The site is located approximately 4 km west of Tel Ashdod, about 50 m from the shoreline. Two areas were excavated: in Area A, installations identified as winepresses, as well as occupation levels, were found; in Area B, a mud-brick complex was uncovered. One tomb (T1) was discovered, and traces indicating the presence of other tombs were discerned north of the site. In the building and in the vicinity of the winepresses numerous pottery sherds were found, of locally-produced vessels, as well as Cypriot, Mycenean and Egyptian imports. Other finds included an Egyptian scarab, spindle whorls and loomweights, metal fishhooks, needles for mending fishing nets, and stone and lead weights for the nets. Based on the architectural evidence and the finds, this is a single-period site that existed for a short period of time during the later part of the thirteenth century BCE. The winepresses were set up together with the building to form an industrial-administrative complex that was primarily engaged in the production and marketing of wine. The site was abandoned at the end of this period for unknown reasons; there is no evidence that it came to a violent end.
Petrographic Analysis of Selected Vessels from the Southern Beach of Ashdod
Keywords: Mediterranean coast, petrography, pottery, geology
Samples of nine vessels from the site on the southern beach of Ashdod were examined petrographically using a polarized microscope to identify the origins of the vessels. According to the petrographic results, it appears that none of the vessels sampled were locally made. The variety of the vessels’ raw materials bears witness to the commercial relations this site had with other sites located along the northern coast of Israel and the Lebanese coast, as well as its ties overseas. The internationality of the Late Bronze Age is well-expressed in the petrographic results.
Botanical Remains from the Excavation on the Southern Beach of Ashdod
Keywords: Mediterranean coast, archaeobotany, grapevine, grain
Carbonized remains of seeds and fruit mixed with sand were collected in Areas A and B of the Late Bronze Age site (thirteenth century BCE) on the southern beach of Ashdod. The majority of the identified remains were of grapes; other species are represented by a few seeds.
A Late Bronze Age II Settlement on the Southern Beach of Ashdod
Keywords: Mediterranean coast, trade, shipping vessels, watch station
The excavation took place on a
hill overlooking the sea. Four squares were opened on the southern slope, and settlement deposits of the Late Bronze Age II were revealed, without any architectural elements. A ceramic figurine was found. The vessels that were found at the site seem to indicate a single-period LB II settlement. The fabrics point to a number of sources, local (Canaanite) and foreign (Cypriot, Mycenaean and possibly Egyptian). This international character is clearly in keeping with the general picture of the period.
An Intermediate Bronze Age Settlement and a Middle Bronze Age II Cemetery at the ‘Third Mile Estate’, Ashqelon
Tali Erickson-Gini and Yigal Israel
Keywords: Mediterranean coast, cemetery, burial, funerary banquet, burial goods
A salvage excavation was conducted on the eastern slopes of a
ridge that runs parallel to the Mediterranean shoreline. The excavation revealed remains from the Intermediate Bronze Age and Middle Bronze Age II. Architectural remnants of the Intermediate Bronze Age (2200–2000 BCE) comprise a ‘cluster’ of round or oval rooms, constructed of mud bricks. The pottery assemblage from the site is characteristic of the Intermediate Bronze Age in southern Canaan. Sixteen pit graves dating to MB II were discovered in three clusters. The inhabitants buried here may have lived in a satellite settlement of the MB II fortified city at Tel Ashqelon. The cemetery contained individuals interred with grave goods, including domestic wares dating to MB IIB–C, in particular storage jars along with dipper juglets and bowls.
Remains from the Hellenistic through the Byzantine Periods at the ‘Third Mile Estate’, Ashqelon
Yigal Israel and Tali Erickson-Gini
Keywords: Mediterranean coast, cemetery, burial goods, numismatics, pottery production, water installations, oil production, wine industry, Christianity
The excavation revealed fragmentary evidence of occupation from the Iron Age through the Early Roman period (Area E); five early Gaza-jar kilns from the first–third centuries CE (Area F1); the remains of a well-built installation complex that included a bathhouse, pools, an oil press, two winepresses, several warehouses and a pottery kiln, belonging to a large Byzantine-period (late fourth or early fifth to early seventh centuries CE) agricultural estate (Areas A–C, E); and several Byzantine-period graves and a tomb (Areas A, D). Hellenistic and Early Roman pottery, dating from the third through the first centuries BCE, as well as five Hellenistic coins and stone vessels from the Early Roman period, were found. A Roman milestone, which marked the third mile north of the center of the Roman city of Ashqelon, was found as well. Early and late Byzantine pottery, dating from the fourth through the early seventh centuries CE, was unearthed. A large amount of jar fragments was uncovered in and near the Area B kilns; however, the rest of the ceramic assemblage was relatively small, including bowls, basins, jugs, juglets, jars, cooking ware, lamps, a lantern and ceramic pipes. The estate produced mainly wine and oil, as indicated by the industrial winepresses, the oil press and the large warehouses and storerooms adjacent to the installations. Its location along the coastal highway, its high-quality masonry and the elaborate bathhouse suggest that it belonged to a church.
A Roman Milestone from the ‘Third Mile Estate’, Ashqelon
Keywords: Mediterranean coast, Roman roads, epigraphy, ancient highways, Roman Empire
A Roman milestone was uncovered 50 m to the northwest of the Byzantine estate buildings. It is a segment of a marble column, roughly cut at one end and broken at the other. The milestone segment bears two lapidary Latin inscriptions: one from the time of Elagabalus (218–222 CE), the other from the reign of Diocletian (284–305 CE).
The Coins from the ‘Third Mile Estate’, Ashqelon
Donald T. Ariel
Keywords: Mediterranean coast, numismatics, Egyptian currency, small denomination
Fifty-eight coins were found during the excavations, all made of bronze; twelve were unidentifiable. The date of the coins conforms to the main settlement phase at the site, i.e., the Late Roman and Byzantine periods; five coins date to the Hellenistic period, and one coin is a solitary Abbasid
. None of the coins from the Byzantine phase date later than the first half of the sixth century, which may suggest that the site was affected by the plagues that struck the region beginning in mid-542 CE.
The Late Bronze Age II ‘Fisherman’s Grave’ from Akhziv
(Hebrew, pp. 1*–7*; English summary, p. 241)
Keywords: Mediterranean coast, cemetery, burial, grave goods
Heavy rains exposed a Late Bronze Age IIB pit-grave in the eastern burial ground at Akhziv. Fourteen vessels, arranged in two groups, were interred along its eastern and western sides; no skeletal remains were preserved. The pottery assemblage includes bowls, juglets, jugs and jars, local and imports. Of note was a collection of lead fishing-net weights found inside one of the bowls.
Lead Fishing-Net Weights from the ‘Fisherman’s Grave,’ Akhziv
(Hebrew, Pp. 9*–17*; English summary, pp. 242–243)
Keywords: Mediterranean coast, cemetery, grave goods, metallurgy, fish
Some 73 lead fishing-net weights were found within a milk bowl in a Late Bronze Age II grave in the eastern Akhziv burial ground. Fishing nets, and the lead weights attached to them, are one of the earliest forms of fishing equipment, and have been used by Mediterranean fishermen for thousands of years. Thus, identifying and dating the weights is particularly difficult. The find of the lead weights in a sealed archaeological context in the Akhziv grave is especially important, because here they can be identified and dated, and a typological database can be constructed. Based on a comparison between the form, weight and number of the weights from the ‘Fisherman’s Grave’ at Akhziv and modern, traditional fishing nets, the weights belonged to a circular thrown net (cast net) used for fishing in shallow waters.
Website, texts and photos © Israel Antiquities Authority