In 2013 and 2014 a combined coastal and underwater archaeological research project was carried out in the North Bay of Dor, supported by a grant from the Honor Frost Foundation. The purpose of this project, undertaken as part of my MA research under the supervision of Dr. Assaf Yasur-Landau and Dr. Gil Gambash, was to examine the use of this bay as a harbor or anchorage during ancient times, including the Roman and Byzantine periods. The field work for the project has been completed; the processing of the ceramic material is done; and the results of Carbon-14, dendrochronology and petrographic analyses of the finds are pending.
On-site work was directed by Dr. Assaf Yasur-Landau (University of Haifa) as part of a study on the ports of Dor, conducted under the auspices of the Leon Recanati Institute of Maritime Studies, in collaboration with Dr. Ayelet Gilboa (University of Haifa) and Prof. Ilan Sharon (Hebrew University). Area supervisors for the coastal excavation were Dr. Alexandra Ratzlaff, Udi Arkin and Inbal Samet (University of Haifa). All maritime work was supervised by Amir Yurman, director of the Maritime Workshop at the Recanati Institute of Maritime Studies, and by Moshe Bachar, diving officer at the workshop. All field and underwater work was carried out by the students of the International Program at the Department of Maritime Civilizations and various volunteers to whom we are grateful.
Tel Dor is located on the Mediterranean coastline, 21 km south of Haifa and 13 km north of Caesarea (Figure 1). The site was inhabited since at least the the 13th century BCE in the Late Bronze Age, when it appeared in a topographical list of Ramesses II at Amarah West. It played a central role in the 11th century story of Wenamun where it is described as the home of the skl, commonly taken to be one of the Sea People. A walled Phoenician city and later a fortified Hellenistic Polis, Dor enjoyed a period of prosperity during these periods and times when it became known as “Dora, Ruler of the Seas”, appearing on an 111/112 CE coin minted in the city under Trajan
After an unprecedented building boom, occupation on the tell ceased during the mid-3rd century CE. Recent research has suggested that during Late Roman and Byzantine times the population center may have shifted northeast of the tell.
There are four natural bays of varying qualities in Dor’s immediate vicinity (Figure 2). These bays and the shipwrecks found in them have been the subject of research in the past, with an emphasis on the Tantura Lagoon and the South Bay (Kingley and Raveh 1994, 1996; Raban 1995; Pomey, Kahanov and Rieth 2012). The maritime function and use of the North Bay is the topic of this research.