Mission Statement of the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon
The mission of the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon is to understand the ancient world through the archaeological investigation of the site of Ashkelon, Israel.
It will expand our knowledge of the past through historical research:
- To determine the archaeological sequence of the site, its size, and aspects of the city plan from the Bronze Age to Crusader times.
- To determine those constants in the life of a seaport, independent of cultural contingencies, over la longue durée from ca. 3000 B.C. to A.D. 1500.
- To test the “port power” hypothesis: namely, that import-export merchants, through knowledge of demand (and prices) in international markets and control of key seaports or caravan cities, influenced but did not actually politically control hinterland production, which might have been organized along very different networks of exchange than the market-controlled ports.
- To assess the role of maritime trade in the economy of a seaport through an examination of its nonperishable merchandise.
- To assess the role of its territorial hinterland in the city’s economy through an archaeological and environmental survey.
It will enhance our common future through public outreach:
- To publish a series of monographs on the archaeology of the site, its harbor, and its countryside. Ultimately, a historical synthesis, integrating data from archaeology and textual sources, would be produced.
- To run an annual field school committed to introducing undergraduate and graduate students to archaeological methods and to the history of the southern Levant.
- To restore major monuments from various periods excavated at the site in order to enrich the physical and cultural landscape of the Ashkelon national park.
- To develop innovative ways of sharing the history of Ashkelon and its excavations with students, teachers, and the general public.