You are here

The Basilica, Bouleuterion, and Civic Center of Ashkelon

April 2016 (120.2)

Field Report

The Basilica, Bouleuterion, and Civic Center of Ashkelon

Download Article PDF (Open Access)

Five seasons of excavation (2008–2012) undertaken by the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon in the area of the forum of Roman Ashkelon (ancient Askalōn), a major seaport on the southern Levantine coast, have revealed a continuous sequence of occupation and building activity from the Hellenistic to the Crusader periods. Of primary interest are two monumental Roman phases: a first-century C.E. basilical structure that housed the city’s bouleuterion and a Severan enlargement and renovation of this building. Most of the Severan phase has been revealed, as well as substantial portions of the earlier basilica/bouleuterion phase and a monumental Hellenistic complex. This article provides an overview of these architectural phases, the evidence for their date, suggestions for reconstruction, and a conspectus of the pre- and post-Roman use of this area of the city. As some of the few systematically excavated examples of these building types in the southern Levant, these structures shed light on the principal monuments and the urban development of an important seaport at the height of its prosperity, and the evidence for the dismantling of the bouleuterion in late antiquity provides a glimpse into the end of Roman civic organization in an important city of the east.

The Basilica, Bouleuterion, and Civic Center of Ashkelon

By Ryan Boehm, Daniel M. Master, and Robyn Le Blanc

American Journal of Archaeology Vol. 120, No. 2 (April 2016), pp. 271–324

DOI: 10.3764/aja.120.2.0271

© 2016 Archaeological Institute of America