As so often happens in Israel, so it happened in 2003 when the Israel Railway Authority was constructing a rail connection between Ashdod and Ashkelon, those ancient Philistine, now modern cities on the Mediterranean coast: Ancient remains were discovered, work stopped, and the Israel Antiquities Authority was called in to investigate and excavate. What was unusual this time, however, was that the excavators came upon a massive hitherto-unknown neo-Assyrian palace dating to the late eighth century B.C.E.a
This is especially tantalizing because it will take a major excavation to fully excavate the palace. So far only a small portion of the building has been excavated. And for the time being, it has been covered back up—simply to protect it. Many senior archaeologists would love to undertake an expedition to expose the palace more fully, but it’s the same old problem: money (or lack thereof).