Jaffa Port

View of Jaffa port by Félix Bonfils, 1867–1870

Egyptian Finds Uncovered in Jaffa

In a Jaffa public garden—not far from a favorite vantage spot for tourists gazing at Tel Aviv’s coastal skyline—archaeologists have discovered traces of the city that stood here from the 15th to the 13th century B.C., when Egypt held sway over Canaan.

“By the style of the bricks and thickness of the walls we can determine that the city at the time was most probably an administrative center for the Egyptian authorities. But so far we have very few clues,” says Ze’ev Herzog of Tel Aviv University, who headed the dig. “The thickness of the walls indicates it was most likely not a domestic center.”

According to Herzog, the cities of Jaffa, Gaza and Beth-Shean were the three main administrative and commercial Egyptian centers in Palestine during the mid-second millennium B.C. Ancient Egyptian records indicate that Jaffa—located just south of downtown Tel Aviv, on a promontory jutting into the Mediterranean Sea—served as an important port during that period. Jaffa’s population at the time was probably very small, consisting primarily of administrators who maintained a military presence and collected taxes, Herzog says.

Read the rest of Strata: A Lot More than Oranges in the online Biblical Archaeology Society Library.