The seasons reported here mark a transition of management, and to a certain extent, of strategy and aims in the Tel Dor project. The last field season of the former expedition, headed for twenty years by E. Stern of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was in 2000 (License No. G-98/2000). Following Professor Stern’s retirement and a decision by several of the remaining staff to continue the project, the consortium was re-established in the following years, directed by I. Sharon and A. Gilboa. The new expedition conducted limited field operations in 2002 and 2003 (License No.G-40/2003), pending a fuller field season in 2004. The institutions participating in the project (past and present) included the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem (E. Stern, 2000; I. Sharon, 2003); the Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa (A. Gilboa, 2002, 2003); the Kimmel Center for Archaeological Sciences at the Weizmann Institute of Science (S. Weiner, 2002, 2003); the University of California at Berkeley, Department of Art History (A. Stewart, 2000, 2003); the Department of Classics, University of Washington in Seattle (S. Stroup, 2003); the University of South Africa (W. Boshoff, 2000). Non-academic affiliates in 2000 included a large contingent from Germany, organized by W. Haury and B. Steiner. The expedition’s senior staff included J. Berg (senior field archaeologist), E. Bloch-Smith and A. Estes (field supervisors), B. Har-Even, N. Kranot, S. Buchwald, T. Goldman, Y. Shalev, J. Yeldin-Sloan, C. McGowan and D. Stitz (area supervision), S. Matskevich (surveying and drafting), A. Killebrew (cultural heritage and conservation), R. Linn (field conservation), O. Cohen (mosaic restoration), N. Vilozhni and M. Lavi (fresco restoration), L. Bartosciewicz and N. Raban (archaeozoology), E. Boaretto (radiocarbon dating), R. Shachak-Gross (micromorphology), F. Berna (sediment chemistry), R. Albert (phytolith analysis), S. Shalev (archaeometallurgy), R. Rosenthal-Heginbottom (Persian–Roman pottery), A. Choyke (bone tools), B. Guz-Zilberstein (Persian–Roman pottery, registrar and museum curator), Y. Hirshberg (photographer and museum director), U. Smilansky and A. Karasik (ceramics shape-analysis), V. Rosen (artifact drawing), R. Gross (pottery restoration), R. Assis (administration), A. Haiem (administration and ceramic counts).The expedition was supported by the Israel Exploration Society, The Berman Foundation for Biblical Archaeology, the Kimmel Foundation for Archaeological Science, and was hosted by the Pardes Hanna Agricultural School, Qibbuz Nahsholim and the Nahsholim guest house. Conservation work was carried out with the support and collaboration of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s conservation department (A. Freundlich) and the Israel National Parks and Nature Protection Authority.
Area G (Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages)
Phase G/12 (Late Bronze IIB). This is the earliest level excavated in Area G, which was exposed in previous seasons in two test trenches below the earliest Iron Age construction (Phase G/10, the Ir1a [early] horizon). The deposits did not evidence occupation surfaces, or architecture. They consisted of sloping debris layers of mud bricks (some burnt), ash, charcoal chunks, and industrial wastes, which provided the earliest attestation for industrial activity in the area. Unlike the earliest Iron Age industrial activity in Phase G/10, which was clearly metallurgical and conducted within a structure, the nature of the Late Bronze Age activity is, as yet, undefined and seems to have been performed in open air. These debris layers were covered with intentional fills that were perhaps meant to level the area.
Preliminary ceramic analysis dated the debris layers and the fills that covered them to the mid-thirteenth century BCE. In addition to the Cypriot and Mycenaean imports, typifying this age especially along the coast, a fair amount of Egyptian containers was uncovered, heralding the substantial import of Egyptian jars and their contents to Dor in the early Iron Age.
It is not clear if this area was within the city bounds of the Late Bronze Age. One theory maintains that the Late Bronze Age town was confined to the westernmost coastal sandstone (kurkar) ridge, running below the westernmost part of the mound. Only in the early Iron Age it extended over the sand tombolo, connecting the kurkar ridge to the mainland. In that case, Area G, in the center of the present-day tell, might have been outside town limits and the excavation may have been on the slope of the tell. The counter argument contends that the layers incline in the wrong direction––northeast to the south and west, rather than west to east.
Phase G/11 (Late Bronze IIB and possibly later). Subsequent activity in the area left a series of superimposed ‘surfaces’ on the slope, created by the Phase G/12 fills, which irregularly descended to the south and west (Fig. 1). Most of the build-up comprised lenses of fine-grained, apparently heat-altered sediments (thickness ranging from very thin to 0.12 m) that contained slag and charcoal, interspersed with thin phytolith-rich surfaces. Two copper implements were found on these surfaces: a dagger, and a ploughshare/adze. An isolated enigmatic installation, which was the sole architectural feature in Phase G/11, was constructed late in this phase. Its exposed portion had shell bedding under the floor and consisted of two stone-lined basins: a higher basin with a channel, leading down into the lower basin. Further patches of shell bedding suggested additional basins or platforms. Other than the shell bedding, which was laid for drainage or insulation purposes, no indication of the installation’s function was discerned.
This continuous build-up also spanned Late Bronze IIB, judging by preliminary pottery reading; however, it seems later than the Phase G/12 assemblage, probably ending in the Late Bronze/Iron Age transition (late thirteenth–early twelfth centuries BCE). A few potsherds at the topmost surfaces dated to the early Iron Age, but it is unclear whether they should be related to Phase G/11, or associated with the Phase G/10 construction. The date of this pottery (G/11), versus that of the previous (G/12) and subsequent (G/10) phases, will be one of the main considerations in assessing the nature of transition from Late Bronze to Iron Age in this area.
Phase G/10 (Ir1a [early]). This was the first clear Iron Age level in Area G (for Early Iron Age chronological definitions at Dor, see Gilboa and Sharon 2003. BASOR 332:7–80). It was marked by continuity in the area’s function, as well as by some notable changes. Micromorphologically, the deposits of Phases G/11 and G/10 were similar, that is heat-altered quartz and calcite, interspersed with thin ‘white surfaces’, primarily of phytoliths. However, the ‘layers’ were now thinner and the ‘surfaces’—more numerous. The first appearance of architecture in Area G was the significant innovation of Phase G/10. It is not yet clear whether this marked the initial expansion of the town into hitherto unoccupied areas (see above), or if the absence of architecture in Phases G/12 and G/11 was merely a result of small-scale exposure. A Courtyard Building was constructed in Phase G/10 and survived through many alterations and at least a single destruction to the Ir2a horizon. Two to three sub-phases were distinguished in most of its rooms. The lower sub-phases (Phase G/10c-b) saw industrial activity, namely small-scale recycling of copper alloys, undertaken in the central courtyard of this structure. Although the nature of this activity was guessed-at in previous seasons (HA-ESI 111), the sampling of sediments in 2002–2003 proved these assertions, indicating that their distinctive chemical ‘signature’ was obtained when they were subjected to high temperature, probably in excess of 10000C. The necessary level of pyro-technology was adequately accounted for by finds in the field. Crucibles, tuyères and a bellows-drum had been found in this structure in previous seasons (HA-ESI 111). Using analogous artifacts to those recovered from the excavation, temperatures reached up to 14000C in field experiments.
Phase G/9 (Ir1a [late]). Architectural continuity and development through the end of Ir1a was demonstrated in this phase. While the walls followed the earlier orientation, they belonged to a more massive construction with larger building stones. The walls were excellently preserved, in spite of being a single stone thick, some standing over 2 m high to date, having been reused in several successive phases after their initial construction in Phase G/9. The Courtyard Building suffered a violent destruction (HA-ESI 111), which preserved roof beams and residues of overlying crisscrossed thatch that had fallen on the plaster floor. Two of its northeastern rooms that were excavated in 2000 (Fig. 2) had floors overlaid with ceramics in primary deposition, but had no other clear evidence of destruction. Excavation in one of its western rooms in 2003 stopped at what was apparently a collapsed roof, yet with little or no evidence of burning. This corroborated the conclusion reached in previous seasons that the Ir1a (late) destruction at Dor had apparently been a site-wide phenomenon, but only part of the town was consumed by fire. Even in the Courtyard Building, only the southern part was burnt, traces of fire dwindling, and eventually disappearing altogether toward the north and west. In one of its northern rooms, two, possibly three, in situ and partially preserved Cypriot ‘wavy-band’ pithoi, were uncovered. When complete, these pithoi must have occupied the better part of this room. They provided another hint regarding the industrial/storage capacity of this building, gleaned from other rooms as well. The specific functions of the Courtyard Building in Phase G/9 seem to have differed from Phase G/10, involving, inter alia, the abandonment of metallurgical activity. The change in function, as well as the transition between Phases G/10 to G/9, was reflected in the micromorphology and composition of sediments, from mainly altered quartz-rich sediments to sediments composed of roughly equal amounts of quartz and clay. Despite the dramatic visual evidence of burning and destruction in Phase G/9, experimentation with burning of similar sediments (mud bricks) has shown that the temperatures at the center of the conflagration were c. 9000C. This is an extremely high temperature for open fire, yet still much lower than the temperatures achieved during metallurgical activity in Phase G/10. Indeed, the vivid sign of destruction, including fallen beams and carbonized materials, indicate that the fuel substances were incompletely spent.
Phase G/8 (Ir1a/b). The Courtyard Building’s plan was maintained, with only minor modifications. The excavation of the northeastern rooms in 2000 and the western rooms in 2003 added more rooms to the Ir1a/b plan.
Area D2 was divided, spatially and thematically, into two main sub-areas.
D2 Lower was the main, deep sub-area in the south-central part of Area D2, where Early Iron levels were excavated. Excavation in 2000 continued in the early Iron Age Monumental Building, which occupied its eastern part, as well as to its west, as in previous seasons (see HA-ESI 112).
D2 Upper was a ring of extension-units, opened in later seasons around D2 Lower on the west and north, as well as several units to the east, not excavated in 2000–2003, which contained remains from the Late Iron Age to the late Persian/Early Hellenistic period.
D2 Lower – Early Iron Age
Excavations West of the Monumental Building
This area is bounded on the west by the ‘Bastion’, which is a monumental north–south boulder wall, founded on bedrock, exposed for c. 15 m and preserved c. 4.8 m high. It runs alongside the eastern margin of the western kurkar ridge and curves westward at its southern end, possibly to encompass the (postulated) acropolis on the southwestern part of the mound. The date of the Bastion, which is the earliest architectural element in Area D2, is problematic. All early Iron Age remains in the area abutted it and the possibility that the Bastion antedated them cannot be ruled out. For many years it was posited that the Bastion was of Late or even Middle Bronze Age date, i.e., the eastern wall of the presumed Canaanite acropolis. However, in two previous excavations conducted by J. Garstang in the 1920s and by A. Raban in the 1980s, floors underlying the Bastion carried, inter alia, ceramics of the early Iron Age. Thus, it seems more likely to attribute the massive Bastion, at present, to the early Iron Age.
Phases 15 and 14. The earliest construction on bedrock, east of the acropolis, comprised a few patches of kurkar floors (Phase D2/14), which either rested directly on bedrock, or on a very shallow fill (Phase D2/15). The scanty potsherds above and below those floors were definitely not earlier than the early Iron Age.
Phases 13 and 12 (Ir1a [late] and Ir1a/b?). A substantial fieldstone structure (the Burnt Stone Building; Figs. 3, 4), otherwise known as ‘Nati's Stone Building’ after its excavator (HA-ESI 112:32*), having at least, two major construction stages, was uncovered over the Phase 14 floors. The building abutted the Bastion on the west, providing a terminus ante quem for the latter's construction. It was bounded on the south by an east–west oriented wall (width 1 m), c. 8 m north of the present-day waterfront. The construction of this wall was somewhat peculiar and, as yet, unclear. Its southern exterior face was built in a regular, vertical manner, but the bottom of its northern interior face was wider than the top and seems to have been stepped. The limits of the Burnt Stone building on the north and east are still undefined; it certainly extended northward beyond the excavated area, and possibly eastward, under the Monumental Building (see below). Its exposed part comprised sections of four rooms and it retained the same basic plan throughout its two stages. The alterations involved the rebuilding of walls on the same, occasionally somewhat different lines, and the shifting of entrances. Plastered installations in the southwestern room were uncovered in both stages. The early phase (D2/13) seems to have ended in a sudden event. Several artifacts found, in situ, on its floors included a painted zoomorphic vessel and an incised scapula. A destruction is also postulated for the second phase (D2/12), although no artifacts in primary deposition were uncovered. Yet deep ash layers filled the eastern room, covering its walls and spilling into the open area to the south. The chronology of the Burnt Stone Building’s two stages is crucial for any assessment of the first expansion of the Early Iron Age town eastward. Preliminary observations indicate that the pottery from the early stage (Phase D2/13) resembles that of the major, Ir1a (late) conflagration in Areas B1 (Phase B1/12) and G (Phase G/9). Thus, its end may have been afflicted by the same event. The pottery from the later stage appeared slightly later than that of all three contexts. These preliminary conclusions require corroboration by a careful study of the pottery.
Phases 11, 10, 9 (Ir1b). Following the desertion of the Burnt Stone Building, the area witnessed some ephemeral construction (Phase D2/11; HA-ESI 112). Subsequently, it was built anew on a grand scale, including the Monumental Building (below), the Sea Wall, which connected the building and the Bastion and the Brick Building that occupied the space between the three architectural elements, above the Burnt Stone Building of Phases 13 and 12. The two phases of the large construction activity were named Phases 10 and 9 (see HA-ESI 112). The southern part of the Brick Building, which had been excavated in previous seasons, consisted of three narrow halls that had no entrances and contained numerous fragments of commercial containers. The building was therefore interpreted as a storehouse. It became evident that the three halls were just part of a much larger mud-brick complex, which extended to the north and east, flanking the Monumental Building on two sides. The northern part of the Brick Building had apparently a different function than the southern one. In Phases 10 and 9 this area was mainly occupied by a large courtyard, which contained different stone and brick installations. Thus, in addition to storage in the southern halls, it seems that some industrial activity was carried out as well. The courtyard extended below the new structures of Phase 8c of the Ir1/2a transition (Benny’s House; ESI 20; HA-ESI 111), some of whose walls reused the courtyard’s walls.
Excavations in the Monumental Building
Small-scale excavations confirmed last season’s observations that part of the building’s exterior boulder walls had two construction stages, with two, possibly three, sets of inner walls (HA-ESI 112). Some of the lower stage mud-brick walls seem to have been cut by the foundation trench of the upper stage of the building’s exterior wall . The stratigraphic relationship between the Monumental Building and the constructions to its west is not entirely clear. It had been assumed that the Monumental Building was constructed in Phase 10 (Ir1b). Yet technically, it was earlier than the Phase 10 constructions, since one ashlar capstone of the Phases 10–9 drainage channel had a small square recess just where it abutted the ashlar corner of the Monumental Building, which seems to have been cut on purpose, to fit this corner. In turn, the Brick Building was partly built on top of the drain’s side wall, i.e., the Brick Building was either later than, or contemporary with the Monumental Building. The Brick Building also abutted the east–west Sea Wall on its south, which in turn, abutted the Monumental Building on the west. Thus, the early stage of the Monumental Building, the Brick building, the Sea Wall and the drain were interpreted as components of a single building operation. However, excavation inside the Monumental Building revealed stratigraphic situations that are inconsistent with this interpretation. The Sea Wall abutted the west wall of the Monumental Building, but east of the west wall was an apparent continuation of the Sea Wall, which was cut, at leastin its upper stage, by the west wall (Fig. 5).
The relationship between the Monumental and the Brick Buildings thus requires further study. The correlation between the construction stages of the Monumental Building and the architectural phases outside it is also still unresolved. Assuming the Monumental Building was built in Phase 10, its two to three construction stages spanned at least three architectural phases (10–8, and possibly even 7) on its exterior, i.e., from mid-Iron I (the beginning of our Ir1b) to late within Iron IIA (Phase 8a) and possibly into Iron IIB (Phase 7), which probably ended with the Assyrian destruction. However, changes inside and outside the building were not necessarily concurrent; independent dating of the floor levels inside the Monumental Building is difficult, as they are almost invariably devoid of primary finds.
Additional data, relating to the nature and function of the Monumental Building, was gathered in 2002–2003. Micromorphological analyses were conducted on a detailed series of thin-sections, covering all the sedimentary units visible in the section at the eastern balk of Area D2, which had cut through the building. The base of the section was composed of an unaltered clay layer, presumably from mud bricks and possibly from a construction fill. Overlaying it was a crushed-kurkar floor that contained calcite and shell-derived aragonite and belonged to the early construction stage of the building. The floor and most of the gray sediment above it (thickness 0.8 m) consisted of altered clays, quartz and calcite. The gray sediment contained abundant microscopic and macroscopic fish bones, which may indicate some role in the fishing industry, such as storage or processing of fish. A whitish layer in the middle of this sediment was very rich in unburned phytoliths, which came from diverse plants and in some cases, were still articulated. It is assumed that this was originally a layer of dung that contained a copious quantity of spherulites, indicating that this dung was most probably bovine or caprine. The occurrence of large dung volumes within one of the most monumental early Iron Age structures known in our region is enigmatic. Was the cellar of the edifice used to stable cows, sheep and goats? Was that space part of a courtyard, extending eastward beyond the excavated area? Was the structure abandoned at some point and its ruins used as an animal pen? Was dung used as a construction material for the building’s superstructure, or as a fill inside it?
D2 Upper – Late Iron Age to Late Persian/Early Hellenistic Periods
While D2 Lower yielded a sequence relating to Phases D2/15–8 in 2000–2003, excavation in D2 Upper concentrated on Phases D2/6–4. The highest phases in the area (D2/3–1; the Hellenistic–Roman periods) were completely excavated in earlier seasons and largely removed.
Phase 6 (Late Iron Age). The earliest remains thus far excavated in D2 Upper date, most probably, to the seventh century BCE. No living horizons were discerned and remains consisted of thick deposits, primarily industrial discards, including tuyère fragments and much slag, below the Phase 5b floors (see below). This is probably the top of the late Iron Age iron industry discard heaps that were excavated in the central section of Area D2 in previous seasons (ESI 18).
Phase 5 (The Persian and the Persian/Hellenistic Transition Periods). The main objective of excavating D2 Upper in 2000 was to clarify the Iron Age/Persian period transition, which had, so far, eluded us. Two sets of floors were discovered below the public building of Phase 4 (see below). The upper set consisted of ‘cement-like’ hard gray floors that were overlaid, in places, with ash, shells and red mud-brick-like material. Below them was the lower set of floors, riddled by many pits. Both floor sets were closely packed, separated by less than 0.5 m. The walls of these two structural stages, which included a few ashlar piers left as stubs, were badly preserved. In many cases, they could only be traced by their robber trenches, which together with those of the Phase 4 structure above them, tended to cut the floors indiscriminately, precluding exact reconstruction of the plan for each set. However, each set seemed to have a distinctly different architectural plan, numbered 5a and 5b. Phase 5a was tentatively dated to the transitional Persian/Hellenistic horizon (fourth century BCE) and Phase 5b was early Persian.
The most significant find in this area came from one of the Phase 5b pits. It was a fragmentary Archaic polychrome architectural terracotta head mask of a gorgoneion (Fig. 6). The grotesque face, which has a grinning mouth, bared teeth, lolling tongue flanked by huge fangs, deeply wrinkled brow and staring eyes, is typical of East Greek gorgoneia. The physical characteristics generally resemble Bes or Humbaba, which may explain the appeal of gorgoneia to a Phoenician setting.
This find, the second of this type from this area, may come from an antefix to a cover-tile from a pitched roof.
Phase 4 (Early Hellenistic Period). Part of a differently built structure was uncovered in 1999, below the Hellenistic residential insulae (HA-ESI 112). The building comprised wide walls that consisted of varied Phoenician headers and stretchers construction (Fig. 7). The shallow remains of this extensive structure, which was certainly of a public nature, extended westward into Area D1 (see below) and northward, beyond the excavation area. The dismantling of the thick ashlar walls in 2000 demonstrated that this structure was not Persian, as previously published, but Hellenistic. The series of thick gray cement-like floors below the structure, initially thought of as belonging to it, were found to extend underneath some of its walls, and in other cases, were clearly cut by them. Accordingly, all the meticulously-built thick walls of the Phase 4 structure were simply the lowest foundation courses of this building, whose original floors were not preserved. Hellenistic pottery was found in the make-up of the walls, as well as on and in the floors of the previous stratum (see above, Phase 5a, and below, Area D1).
Area D1 – the Persian and Hellenistic Periods
Excavating this area in 2000 had two objectives:
(1) To continue the excavation of the Phase D1/3 ‘Persian Palace’ structure, in particular the two eastern halls and the northern corridor that were not completely cleared in previous seasons (Fig. 8) and to clarify its plan and date. This was achieved by dismantling later walls built over and inside the structure's wide hallways and establishing the dates of the structure’s earliest occupation phases, as well as the latest ones preceding them.
(2) To extend the area toward the east, north and northeast.
The most significant feature of the ‘Persian Palace’ structure was revealed during the clearing of its northeastern corner in 2000. It was established that the northernmost and eastern walls of the structure did not meet, but rather, abutted upon the corner of another massive, wide-walled building. Judging by orientation, size, construction method and elevation, it was patently clear that this wall was one and the same as the wide east–west ahslar wall of the Phase 4 structure in the northernmost three units of Area D2 (above). Independent evidence in Area D2 proved that this wall was built in the Hellenistic period, rather than in the Persian period, and continued to be used later, as previously thought. This confirmed our previous observation (HA-ESI 111) that the ‘Persian Palace’ was not of the Persian period, but the massive foundation of a Hellenistic building, cutting into Persian-period deposits. It provided a stratigraphic link between Areas D1 and D2 and also established that both the ‘Persian Palace’ and the so-called Big Mother Wall were part of a vast architectural complex, which extended some 25 m in an east–west direction, overlooking the southern bay and the open sea on the southwestern corner of the tell. To find out how far it continued to the north of the currently excavated area will be investigated in future seasons.
Over the past seasons, fairly extensive reuse of architectural elements in later walls was noted in Areas D1 and D2. The dismantling of later walls in 2000, above the so-called Persian Palace in Area D1, yielded a number of architectural elements in secondary use, whose original stratigraphic horizon could not be established, nor whether they belonged to one structure, or even a single phase. However, several elements from secure Hellenistic contexts, such as fills sealed by the earliest Roman floors, pits whose latest finds were late Hellenistic, or reused in the foundations of late Hellenistic/early Roman walls (Stewart and Martin, 2003, Hesperia 72:121–145), were recovered. The elements included the statue of Nike (Fig. 9) found in Pit 1 (see Fig. 8) which, by size, posture and finish, must have been the left-hand side akroterion of a small pediment. Other elements were column drums, Doric capitals and an Ionic anta capital. All were of a similar scale and would fit, together with the akroterion, a temple, propylon, or porch (width 6–9 m), with a tetrastyle facade. The style and proportions of the statue and columns (diam. 0.6 m, height 4.5 m) fit early- to mid-Hellenistic canons, and indicate a Greek-style building, either a temple or part of a palace, probably built in the third–early second century BCE and dismantled by the late second–early first century BCE. Its architectural elements were dumped or reused as building stones in subsequent structures. Actual foundations that fit the postulated dimensions of this structure were not yet found in the area. However, searching for a building that may have housed these architectural elements turned our attention to a wall, previously exposed below surface in the north balk of Area D1. The remarkable feature of this particular wall was its molded base. This wall was dismissed as Roman when discovered, due to its position below surface and the surmise that ‘Greek style’ architectural ornaments at Dor should be Roman. Nonetheless, it turned out that (a) Roman foundations had cut this wall, and (b) an apparently Hellenistic wall abutted it on the north. To investigate the structure to which this wall belonged, Area D1 was extended one unit (5 m) northward. It was discovered that the wall with the molded base was the southern limit of a podium. North of the wall was a packed fill of the podium’s core and several foundations. Due to the structure’s proximity to surface, no floor was discovered and the podium’s southern part was preserved a single course high. Disappearing altogether 2–3 m to the north, its plan survived by robber trenches. However, It does not seem likely that the podium structure was the source of all the architectural elements. First, the Doric order was not usually associated with molded bases. Second, the foundations were not wide enough to support columns that are 0.6 m thick. Third, the most likely stratigraphic placement for the podium would be in the very last Hellenistic phase of Area D1, coeval with walls that already contained reused Doric architectural elements. The molded podium may thus be the base of a small shrine, the side of a large altar, or some similar installation. Be that as it may, there is yet another indication that this area was used for public, possibly cultic structures, ornamented in Greek style. The gorgoneion mask in Area D2, the ‘Persian Palace’ itself (see below), the still-unfound Doric Building and the Molded-Base Structure indicate that this function of the area can be spanned from the early fifth century BCE to the end of the Hellenistic period, prior to the ‘migration’ of the cultic area northward and the construction of the monumental Temples H and F in the Late Roman period (HA-ESI 112).
A large pit (Pit 2; see Fig. 8) was discovered under some flimsy remains of Late Roman architecture in the eastward extension of Area D1. The pit contained torn-up mosaic remains in hundreds of fragments (size ranging from c. 0.3 × 0.4 m to c. 5 × 5 cm of tesserae). The painstaking restoration process resulted in one figurative panel (Fig. 10), which together with several additional sections, suggest the original composition of a mosaic floor or floors (Stewart and Martin, 2003, Hesperia 72:121–145). Although the pit was Roman and its contents were mixed Persian–Roman, the mosaic itself is stylistically Hellenistic.
This fragmentary mask-and-garland mosaic is the finest example of opus vermiculatum in the Levant; the only other example of this technique in Israel is a fragmentary mosaic from Tel Anafa that had never been fully published. The mask-and-garland motif is fairly common in mosaic floors of the Hellenistic and Roman eras. The extant fragments at Dor include a single, nearly-complete mask of a pale, wavy-haired, effeminate youth, typical of the Dionysian masks of the New Comedy, which is a composite of two types, dating 150–50 BCE, as well as small parts of at least one other mask, several sections of beribboned and garlanded ivy sprays, pine cones, olives, pomegranates, wild roses (Fig. 11) and sections of geometric meander design in perspective (Fig. 12). This splendid mosaic testifies to the presence of a sophisticated Greek and/or Hellenized community, or at the very least some wealthy philhellene patrons in second century BCE Dor.
The best parallels to our mosaic come from the reception/dining rooms of some of the second century BCE houses in Delos, and the House of the Faun in Pompeii (late second century BCE).
Area H – Roman Period
Excavations in this area had three objectives:
(a) To unscover the foundation trench of Temple H—the southern, smaller of the two temples on the mound’s western perimeter.
(b) To clarify the function of the large kilns/ovens in the industrial zone on the eastern side of the area (HA-ESI 112).
(c) To probe floors of selected rooms in Roman houses of the area’s central part, dating their construction.
A probe beneath the floors of two of the Early Roman rooms in the Dolphin House, which preceded the construction of the temple in central H (see HA-ESI 112), yielded dateable late Hellenistic material, providing a terminus post quem for the construction of the insula. The most spectacular finds were an Early Roman gemstone engraved with a satyr’s head and a thin gold band, perhaps a bracelet.
East of the Roman main north–south street (the Embarcadero), the excavation of a series of large kilns, which were found in 1999 and whose function is uncertain, was completed. Each kiln had several phases and evidence of high-temperature firing. Unfortunately, no diagnostic slag or other recognizable clues as to their use (bread ovens? glass furnaces?), was found. Investigating the foundations of the large building to the north of the kilns produced sound stratigraphical evidence of several occupation stages in its Early Roman phase, which were reflected in changes to the building's use and internal rearrangements. A bonus find was a splendid Corinthian marble capital, dumped in a later robber trench.
On the west side of the tell, the foundation trench of ‘Temple H’ was discovered and excavated. It contained enough dated pottery and lamps, which placed the temple’s construction later than c. 150 CE. Further study of the temple’s plan determined that it was almost certainly a peripteros sine postico, i.e., a western-type temple with a colonnade on three sides and the extension of the cella's back wall on the fourth side. This temple type, which originated in republican Italy and spread throughout the Western Roman Empire and into North Africa, is apparently unknown, to date, east of Cyrenaica.