Underwater surveys at Ashkelon during 1998 exposed a Hellenistic/Roman shipwreck. The ship, c.15–25 m long, sank in the 1st or 2nd century BC, and its remains include iron anchors, lead sheathing, copper nails, assorted metal artefacts, and shipwright's unused nails. Bronze vessels found—oil-lamp, shovel and ladles—could have functioned in cult rites. Weights and balance-scale parts demonstrate commercial activity. Fishing-net sinkers indicate involvement in fishing. This paper raises important points regarding the risk to shipwrecks on the Israeli coast from environmental and human interference, and suggests that Ashkelon never had a built-up port.
© 2009 The Authors