Disheveled Tenacity: The North Bay of Roman and Byzantine Dor

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Tel Dor overlooks the eastern Mediterranean on the southern Levantine coastline of Israel. Underwater surveys and a coastal excavation in the North Bay of Dor have produced evidence of an anchorage at the 4th–7th century CE Byzantine city of Dora. The existence of such an anchorage at the northwestern extremity of the city had been contemplated in the past. Also identified are traces of maritime activity from the time period between the 1st century BCE and 3rd century CE and from earlier periods. The concurrent use of the North Bay and the nearby South Bay and Tantura Lagoon during late antiquity mostly took advantage of the natural coastal morphology, augmented only modestly by man-made infrastructure. These three sites served local and interregional maritime traffic at Dor, a clear attestation to a decentralized resource management that resists strict categorization. The resulting image of the maritime interface(s) at Dor does not fit perceptions of a harbor as a spatially rigid, centralized managed phenomenon. Such a seemingly disheveled use of the scarce resource of natural anchorages has shown remarkable tenacity over the longue durée in the southern Levant, as typified by Dor in late antiquity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-237
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Maritime Archaeology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Dora
  • Roman and Byzantine Anchorage
  • Tel Dor
  • Underwater survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology


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