In 1986, excavation expanded in Grids 38, 50, and 57, all of which had returned promising results during the 1985 field season. Work was completed on the church in Grid 34/41 and several new areas were opened.
Grid 22 was opened on the edge of the southern end of the North Tell after EB sherds were found in the vicinity. Though excavation did not produce Bronze Age material, it did reveal the remnants of a Byzantine period building and sewer system.
Another new area, Grid 37, was opened to the west of Grid 38 closer to the Mediterranean Sea. Excavation quickly hit a common feature in all the areas excavated at Ashkelon; rubble.
Underneath the rubble, a large building slowly emerged. In the debris of that building, archaeologists discovered one of the most important Islamic period artifacts excavated at Ashkelon.
Published by Miriam Rosen-Avalon in 1991, these two pieces, along with another two found during excavation in 1987, were very fine examples of filigree work.
It wasn't just the new areas that produced interesting results. 1986 marked the arrival of dogs in Ashkelon. During the excavation of Grid 50, the burials of over 30 dogs were discovered. They were to be the first of many -- over 1200 to be exact. The dogs remain one of the most intriguing and debated discoveries at Ashkelon.