Tel Dor: Ruler of the Seas -- By: Hela Crown-Tamir

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 14:1 (Winter 2001)
Article: Tel Dor: Ruler of the Seas
Author: Hela Crown-Tamir


Tel Dor: Ruler of the Seas

Hela Crown-Tamir

[Biblical Dor. on Israel’s Mediterranean coast, was an important site during both the Old and New Testament periods. One of Palestine’s most important ports for 1, 500 years, few Israelites may have actually lived there. It was the home of Canaanite, Sea People and Phoenician mariners. In this article, Israeli tour guide Hela Crown-Tamir recaps the 2000 Tel Dor dig results.]

On Israel’s northern shore is a spectacular and enchanting stretch of beach. Here is Nahsholim (“breakers”) Kibbutz and nearby are two large natural bays with crystal clear water and white sandy beaches. Islands of rocks, large and small, enhance the natural beauty and landscape. In late fall and early spring it is a serene nesting places for thousands of migrating birds, a bird watchers delight. Yet. the most interesting aspect of this site is the ancient Biblical port city of Dor.

Dor. (“dwelling together” or “comradeship”) is mentioned several times in the Old Testament. The Canaanite city (the “heights of Dor” — Jos 11:2; 12:23) joined Jabin. King of Hazor, to stand against Joshua and the Israelites. Part of Manasseh’s tribal inheritance (Jos 17:11), the Israelites could not drive the Canaanites out (Jgs 1:27). Dor was the capital of one of Solomon’s administrative districts (1 Kgs 4:11). History and archaeology indicate it also prospered under the Greeks and Romans. Byzantine churches were constructed here (fourth-seventh centuries AD) and the Crusaders built a fortress at Dor in the 11 th century.

Hidden Treasure of the Sand (Dt 33:19)

Thirteen miles north of Caesarea. and almost equadistant from Haifa, Dor was a flourishing port and international commercial center throughout the Biblical period. The excavators note four distinct civilizations at Dor: the Canaanites, the Sikil Tribe of Sea Peoples, the Phoenicians, and the Hellenistic-Roman culture. With artifacts from Old Testament Egypt to Napoleon’s cannons found here and displayed at the Dor Museum, the site was inhabited throughout the Biblical period. This coastal city is a perfect illustration of treasures hidden in the sand.

Canaanites first settled Dor during the Middle Bronze Age (2000 BC). While the city was part of Manasseh’s tribal inheritance, the Sikils of the Sea Peoples settled here during the Iron Age (1150–1050 BC). They were followed by the Phoenicians, descendants of the Canaanites, from the 11th century BC on. They inhabited Dor during the Israelite, Assy...

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