Back in May, my friend Dan and I visited the site of Ashdod-Yam. The site is located a little over 3 miles NW of Tel Ashdod. Tel Ashdod, the city mentioned in the Old Testament, is difficult to visit. My young friends, Trent and Rebekah, mentioned visiting Ashdod a few weeks ago. The site, “now a cow pasture,” is enclosed by a highway and railroad track on one side and an industrial park on the other. Finding the right hole in the fence is not easy.
You can see a small photo of the excavated area at Tel Ashdod in Journal 118 of Hadashot Arkheologiyot here. Biblical Archaeological Review has a full page photo of the Assyrian palace excavated at Tel Ashdod. (See “Assyrian Palace Discovered in Ashdod.” BAR, Jan/Feb 2007.)
Sargon II took the city of Ashdod in 712/711 B.C., an event mentioned in Isaiah 20:1. By Roman times Ashdod consisted of two cities, the coastal town of Azotus Paralios and the inland town of Azotus Mesogeius. (There is too much history for inclusion here.)
Azotus is mentioned only once in the Bible. After the baptism of the man of Ethiopia, the evangelist Philip “found himself at Azotus.”
But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea. (Acts 8:40 ESV)
Except for the fortress, the large site of Ashdod-Yam resembles sand dunes. A joint excavation conducted by the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University and the Institut für Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft of the Leipzig University has just completed the current season. The excavation web site may may be accessed here.
Below is a photo of the name of Azotos Paralios in the 6th century Madaba mosaic map.