Today, Alex Zukerman, Itzik Shai and yours truly visited an ongoing (excellently conducted!!) excavation directed by Pirhiya Nahshoni of the Israel Antiquities Authority, at the southern part of the city of Ashdod. This site, portions of which were already excavated several years ago by Perhiya (and published in her MA Thesis: Nahshoni, P. 2003. Wine Production and Mediterranean Trade in Southern Canaan in the 13th Century B.C.: A Case Study: “Ashdod, The Southern Beach” [Unpublished Master’s Thesis, In Hebrew with English Summary]. Beersheba: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev), is an extremely important site for several reasons.
As already discussed in her MA thesis, the site is well-dated to the very end of the LB (late 13th century) and does not continue into the Iron I. The dating is based on a large selection of local, and in particular, imported wares, including Egyptian, Cypriote, Mycenaean, Minoan and Anatolian types, and a late 19th Dynasty scarab. In addition, the site contains fascinating evidence of late 13th century BCE wine production installations, and various fishing related implements.
The current excavations are a continuation of the previous excavations, and some, as of yet, unpublished finds of quite similar character were found; but in addition, new, very interesting things have appeared as well. Needless to say, I will leave it to Pirhiya to publish them.
Meanwhile, what she has published in her MA thesis is of utmost importance! This study has been largely overlooked, but deserved close attention from anyone dealing with the final stages of the LB and the early Iron I periods. For example, the fact that the site is abandoned at the end of the LB and not resettled in the early Iron I, is a nice example of the major changes that occured in the settlement pattern, trade relations, economic structure, etc., between the two periods. It would appear to support the “normative” explanation on the Sea Peoples/Philistine phenomemon, i.e. that it is not a continuation of the LB, but rather, a new, intrusive event(s).