The appearance and disappearance of Birket El-Kamar, Jaffa, Israel

Elie Haddad, Haim Goren, Michal Artzy, Dorit Sivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The harbor of Jaffa is one of the oldest in the land of Israel and was a significant entry from the sea for the last 4000 years, from the Middle Bronze Age to the twentieth century. Birket el-Kamar was a sandy bay in the coastal strip south of modern Jaffa harbor that had been part of the harbor during various past periods, but no longer exists. Its name, meaning ‘the Moon Pool’, occurs in historical archival documents, mainly maps, from the nineteenth century to the first half of the twentieth century. This study focuses on the changing outlines of Birket el-Kamar during the last 800 years, based on recently revealed archaeological remains, and documentary evidence. It seems that in addition to the natural processes, the Ottoman fortress that was built on the natural sand strip connecting the rocks in the sea with the coast, also affected the on-going processes, through which the inner port, the central port and the north anchorage suffered higher erosion rates and the shoreline retreated eastward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-43
Number of pages17
JournalPalestine Exploration Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, © Palestine Exploration Fund 2020.


  • Birket el-Kamar
  • Jaffa Port
  • Ottoman period
  • kurkar ridge
  • tombolo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Religious studies
  • Archaeology


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