The Bible frequently mentions the Philistine port city of Ashkelon. Samson went there in a rage and killed 30 men (Judges 14:19); David referred to Ashkelon in his poignant elegy for Saul and Jonathan, when he learned they had been slain by the Philistines at the Battle of Gilboa (2 Samuel 1:20); and the seventh-century B.C. prophet Zephaniah predicted that “Ashkelon shall become a desolation” (Zephaniah 2:4).
Past seasons have uncovered a vast array of remains, including Canaanite and Philistine buildings, Persian period (539–332 B.C.) warehouses, a huge and mysterious dog cemetery, a Roman and Byzantine bath-house and bordello, and Islamic houses and streets. This year, work will continue in the areas listed above. In addition, excavation will begin along the quayside of what is thought to be the Philistine harbor.