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Ashdod Yam

Ashdod Yam is an archaeological site in the modern city of Ashdod located on Israel’s southern coast.

Visitors are welcome to explore the fortress a few meters from the water line.

The rooms in it were restored and cooking and baking ovens from ancient times were uncovered.

It especially nice to visit at the end of the summer Evening Primrose flowers and Beach Lilies are in bloom.

History of Ashdod Yam

Ashdod was Canaanite was a fortified city which was then invaded by the Philistines.

It became one of the five most important Palestinian city-state and was a thriving trading city at that time.

There was probably a small port of trade at Ashdod Yam, which served Ashdod, while its main port of trade was located at Tel Mor.

Tel Mor’s importance diminished during the Iron Age and Ashdod Yam became the main coastal settlement connected directly to the inland city of Ashdod.

During the 10th century BC, Ashdod was destroyed, probably by Pharaoh Siamon,or by King David in one of his wars with the Philistines.

In 734 BC, Ashdod was conquered by Assyria since its location by sea was an important strategic destination for both military and trade purposes.

However, Ashdod remained a city-state and did not become an Assyrian province until the people revolted and Sargon II destroyed the city and exiled its inhabitants.

The first documentation about the Ashdod Yam is from Sargon II, king of Assyria, who fortified it to serve as a trading station and port Assyrian province.

Ashdod Yam was built as an administrative center, and exiles from Ashdod and other countries controlled by Assyria were brought to it.

In the following centuries, the area was repeatedly conquered and destroyed by the Babylonians, Persians, Hellenists, Hasmoneans, and Romans.

Little else known until the Byzantine period, though archeological indicating that Ashdod Yam continued to function as a city.

Since the Byzantine period in the 4th century and probably further back during the Hellenistic period, it was a prosperous trading city.

A chancel screen from a synagogue from the 6th century CE testifies to the existence of a Jewish community at Ashdod Yam during the Byzantine period.

Most of the remains of the city are still buried under the sands of the southern coast of Ashdod. 

After the Arab conquest of the Land of Israel, a large fortress was built near the remains of Ashdod Yam.

This was part of a system of fortifications along the southern coastal plain, including Ashkelon and Yavne Yam, to prevent a Byzantine reinvasion from the sea.

In times of danger, massages were conveyed by means of beacons of fire (by night) and smoke signals (by day).

The fortress was surrounded by a moat and is believed to have been to soldiers guarding the beach from invasions, with rooms, stables, and a bathhouse around its main courtyard.

An earthquake damaged the fortification and and was abandoned until Crusaders conquered the area and refortified it.

Ashdod Yam was reconstructed and resettled during the Crusader Period and was left neglected after the Crusaders were banished from the country.

Archaeological excavations revealed two tomb estates belonging to the cemetery of the city of Ashdod Yam, in which members of the upper class from the Roman and Byzantine periods were buried.

Underwater archeological surveys discovered pottery, metal vessels, ancient coins, and sarcophagus in many remains of shipwrecks off the coast.

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