In 1985, the expedition opened four grids (excavation areas) as it began the investigation of ancient Ashkelon.
In Grid 34/41, excavated for one season, work revealed a church, the existence of which was known from accounts of earlier visitors to the site. Almost immediately, the clearance of rubble revealed some of the church's finest features.
In other areas, it sometimes took a little longer to get to archaeological contexts.
Located on the north slope of the South Tell, Grid 38 didn't look like much when it was first opened. Of course, appearances can be deceiving. Grid 38 was the longest continually excavated area on site, 1985 - 2013. Work in this area uncovered a complex stratigraphic sequence stretching from the Bronze Age to the Islamic period. It also produced some of the most spectacular finds on site some of which are currently on display in the Israel Museum.
Grid 57 was excavated from 1985 - 1990. Located on the west side of the South Tell, it too had a very interesting stratigraphic sequence in which some amazing discoveries were made. One of the most notable? A hoard of silver tetra drachma coins and jewelry found in a destroyed building.
Hands down, the best view on site belonged to those working in Grid 50 which was located on the western edge of the South Tell overlooking the Mediterranean. No shade clothes needed here; the breeze kept things cool and comfortable all day long. Grid 50 was excavated from 1985 - 2000. One of the largest excavation areas on site, it is perhaps most well known for Nebuchadnezzar's destruction of the marketplace found here, as well as the Persian period dog burials.