Research Projects Being Conducted by The Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon and Affliliated Scholars



Final Report on the Iron I Period

     Household Archaeology of Iron I Ashkelon

     New Cypro-Minoan Handles from Ashkelon and a Twelfth Century Alphabetic Seal

     Infrared Mass Spectrometry for Soil Analysis


Final Report on the Middle Bronze Age Gate


Final Report on the Persian Period


Final Report on the Islamic Period

     Survey of Crusader Ramparts

     Byzantine-Early Islamic Transition


Paleo-Environmental Survey

     Core Sampling

     Beach Survey


This season we are investigating:

Roman Forum

Geology of Ashkelon

11th Century Philistine Houses

Persian and Hellenistic City


For more detailed information about these projects check below for updated descriptions of each research project.  More will be added soon!


Project Descriptions

Dr. Rona S. Avissar- Lewis, Lab Director, Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon

Post Doc. Project title: Household Archaeology of Ashkelon in the Iron I.

My PhD dissertation "Childhood and Children in the Material Culture of the Land of Israel, From the Middle Bronze Age to the Iron Age", under the supervision of Prof. Aren M. Maeir from Bar-Ilan University) represents the first attempt to examine the material evidence relating to children and childhood in the ancient Land of Israel. As part of this study, I collected and analyzed artifacts relevant to this topic, as well as discussed written evidence pertinent to it.

Up to now, very little attention has been paid to this important facet of this region in antiquity, in part due to the difficulty of recognizing aspects relating to children and childhood from an archaeological perspective. I defined a criteria through which we are able both to discern the relevant evidence and to understand aspects relating to children and childhood, and to differentiate between the material culture typical to children and that of adults. The study of the material culture of children influences not only our understanding of children’s life, activities and role in those periods, but it also provides important insights on those societies and cultures.

In my Post Doc, I would like to explore further into the research framework I presented in my Ph.D. and through it, to try and trace different household activities and to connect them to specific members of the family. I intend to analyze the rich layer of the Iron I period in Ashkelon, and to examine its houses and domestic areas. I intend to investigate different aspects of the occupants of the house, by applying Household archaeology methods. Questions such as: Who were the house inhabitants; What rolls did they play according to their gender; Where were different activities carried out; How was the house organized. I also intended to look into aspects related to security, privacy and space; Restricted and controlled areas; and finally to look into matters such as typology of houses in relation to those who lived in them.


Joshua Walton, Ph.D. Candidate, Harvard University

Persian Period Pottery Project

The Persian Period pottery project is working on forming a typology and cataloging the Persian pottery from Ashkelon in order to better understand the nuances of diachronic change in the assemblage. Ashkelon has an ideal corpus for this type of study due to the amount of pottery coming from contexts representing the full breadth of Persian inhabitation.  During the 2011 field season much of the focus will be marking, although if things go well at the very end of the season, or in a post season week we may begin typology work.