Between Israel and Phoenicia: The Iron IIA–B Fortified Purple-dye Production Centre at Tel Shiqmona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The history of Tel Shiqmona, on Israel’s Carmel coast, in the Iron Age has remained almost totally obscure since its excavation some 50 years ago. Recent analysis has revealed the site’s singularity—the only one around the Mediterranean that can be demonstrated to have produced the luxurious purple dye for half a millennium. This article is the first discussion of a central episode (three strata) in the site’s history. We argue that during the Late Iron IIA, the Kingdom of Israel, probably under the Omrides, replaced a small Phoenician village with a fortified casemate enclosure in order to control and institutionalise the production of the dye and other industries. These peaked under Jeroboam II, and subsequently the fort was ravaged during the period of unrest in Israel after this monarch’s reign. We discuss the historical and cultural picture emerging from a meticulous analysis of the stratigraphy and finds and address trade contacts and regional, historical and geopolitical contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-110
Number of pages36
JournalTel Aviv
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Casemate walls
  • Iron Age II
  • Israelite material culture
  • Kingdom of Israel
  • Phoenician material culture
  • Purple dye
  • Tel Shiqmona

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Archaeology


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