Geoarchaeology at the marine waterfront of a coastal urban center: Human activities and sea-land interface processes on the Late Bronze and early Iron Age coast of Tel Dor, Israel

Ruth Shahack-Gross*, Isaac Ogloblin Ramirez, Paula Rut Zajac, Ehud Arkin Shalev, Tami Zilberman, Gal Yasur, Sveta Matskevich, S. Rebecca Martin, Ayelet Gilboa, Ilan Sharon, Assaf Yasur-Landau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Geoarchaeological research at coastal urban sites in the Levant focused until recently on two research directions: the identification of ancient harbors and the study of occupation deposits in settlement portions that are located well above sea level (i.e., 'dry' excavations). Here we present a geoarchaeological study of the southern maritime waterfront of Tel Dor following a coastal excavation at an elevation that is close to current sea level. The research addresses stratigraphic relationships between underwater, coastal and fully terrestrial architectural features (wall remains) and these provide the context for deposits found within the site's perimeter. These coastal deposits were then studied using sediment micromorphology as well as stable carbon and oxygen isotope analysis. Three depositional units have been identified. The lower was found to be coastal deposits earlier than the Iron Age IB (Ir1b, 11-10th c. BCE). The middle unit is an ash deposit containing pottery and bone refuse dating to the Ir1b, probably a town dump, that became indurated due to sea level rise and resembles beachrock. The upper unit is composed of tell occupation deposits, including phytolith-rich layers and evidence for wood ash and compacted livestock dung as in stabling deposits. The latter, dated to the Ir1b – Ir2a (i.e. up-to and including the 9th c. BCE), reflects dumped refuse and livestock keeping in a terrestrial (i.e. non-marine) environment. Overall, this study provides initial insights into site formation processes and human activities at Dor's maritime interface during the Iron Age.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number103835
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Volume48
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies for logistic support for the coastal excavations during three seasons, and numerous students of the department of Maritime Civilizations who took part in fieldwork. Excavation was carried out under Israel Antiquities Authority license number 84/18 and partially supported by an Israel Science Foundation grant # 495/18 to A.Y-L. Land excavations were sponsored by the Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa, the Institute of Archaeology and its Berman Center for Biblical Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Boston University, and were partially supported by the Goldhirsh Foundation . The Israel Exploration Society contributed logistic and financial services. Geoarchaeological analyses were conducted in the Laboratory for Sedimentary Archaeology, University of Haifa (headed by R. S-G.) and partially funded by an Israel Science Foundation grant #697/20 to R.S-G.

Funding Information:
We thank the Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies for logistic support for the coastal excavations during three seasons, and numerous students of the department of Maritime Civilizations who took part in fieldwork. Excavation was carried out under Israel Antiquities Authority license number 84/18 and partially supported by an Israel Science Foundation grant #495/18 to A.Y-L. Land excavations were sponsored by the Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa, the Institute of Archaeology and its Berman Center for Biblical Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Boston University, and were partially supported by the Goldhirsh Foundation. The Israel Exploration Society contributed logistic and financial services. Geoarchaeological analyses were conducted in the Laboratory for Sedimentary Archaeology, University of Haifa (headed by R. S-G.) and partially funded by an Israel Science Foundation grant #697/20 to R.S-G.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Early Iron Age
  • Eastern Mediterranean coast
  • Late Bronze Age
  • Maritime geoarchaeology
  • Sediment micromorphology
  • Tel Dor

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Geoarchaeology at the marine waterfront of a coastal urban center: Human activities and sea-land interface processes on the Late Bronze and early Iron Age coast of Tel Dor, Israel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this