The publication of a final report on an archaeological excavation is an important event, particularly when one is dealing with such an important site as Ashkelon. As is well known, and discussed previously in BAR, one of the central problems that has plagued the archaeology of Israel in the past few decades is the “poor track record” that many excavations have had in the publication of the final reports. Fortunately, in the past few years, the tide seems to have turned, and only in the past decade we have witnessed the publication of numerous reports, chock-full of information, on a wide range of sites. This includes volumes on the excavations of important sites such as Beth Shean (three volumes edited by Ami Mazar, with another one in press), Lachish (five impressive volumes edited by David Ussishkin), the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem (so far four volumes edited by Hillel Geva), to name but a few of the more prominent.
The volume under review, edited by Larry Stager of Harvard University, along with David Schloen of the University of Chicago and Daniel Master of Wheaton College, is the first of what one hopes to be a long series of volumes that will report on long-going (and ongoing) excavations at Ashkelon. The second volume of this series has appeared already,1 and discussions with Stager and Master (the current codirectors of the Ashkelon project) indicate that there are more volumes on the verge of publication.