Biblical Archaeology Review 33:4, July/August 2007

Archaeological Views: A Career at One Site

By Ayelet Gilboa

For the past six years I have been directing the Tel Dor excavations on the coast of Israel in collaboration with Ilan Sharon of The Hebrew University and partners from institutions in Israel, America and around the globe. Nearly my entire field career is connected to Dor. After my freshman year at college, Ephraim Stern, then my professor and excavator of Dor, asked me to join his team. Though I was hesitant at first, my mother insisted that I take the job. She said “You never know where this can lead.” (Lesson A: Always listen to your mother.) I’ve been stuck there ever since.

Some archaeologists tell me that having spent almost my entire career at one site is an unhealthy state of affairs, as it may limit my perspective. It is true that my involvement with Dor shaped my career and fields of interest, oftentimes quite arbitrarily. However, Dor is a uniquely fascinating and diverse site. It was occupied from the Bronze Age through Roman times. As a major seaport, it has disclosed ample evidence for cross-Mediterranean contacts. So it is possible to spend one’s entire career in this one site and from this vantage point get a wider perspective than others might get by jumping around from site to site. Thus, I am currently dealing with issues such as Sea Peoples and Phoenicians, commercial interconnections, Iron Age Israel and Iron Age chronology. Besides, Dor is situated on one of Israel’s most beautiful beaches, so I can hardly complain.

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