1985

The excavation of Ashkelon, initially sponsored by Leon Levy and Shelby White and now the Leon Levy Foundation, began in 1985. Under the direction of Lawrence E. Stager and Douglas Esse, the associate director, four areas were opened for excavation. One of those areas, Grid 38, would become the longest continually excavated area on site. Two other grids, 50 and 57, would become sites of long term excavation. The final area, Grid 34/41, which was excavated for only two seasons, held one of the best preserved buildings uncovered in ancient Ashkelon.

 The first official photo of the excavation

The first official photo of the excavation

As excavation began, some areas revealed their secrets quickly.

 Fresco in church standing near Jerusalem Gate

Fresco in church standing near Jerusalem Gate

Work didn't always move as quickly in other areas.

 Grid 57

Grid 57

There are a lot of familiar names on the list of Ashkelon staff in 1985 but two stand out, two staff members still work with the excavation today. The first is Lawrence Stager and the second is Paula Wapnish.

Who else was at Ashkelon in 1985? What about the stories of the accommodations? Can they possibly be true? The answers to these questions and more coming soon.

We have two more seasons of excavation and are looking for volunteers to join us for the 2015 field season. You still have time to submit an application. Consider joining us and becoming part of the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon team.