Avner Raban

Like fallen dominoes, ashlar blocks lie along the shore at Athlit, in modern Israel. As at Tel Dor, these ashlars formed a harborside quay. Athlit’s quay, however, is more recent than its counterpart at Tel Dor; it dates to the sixth century B.C.E. and was the work of the Phoenicians, though the origin of the style must be credited to the Sea Peoples. Other Phoenician ashlar quays have been found at Tabbat el-Hammam (in Syria), Tyre (in Lebanon) and Akko (in Israel).

This maritime style—whether it be the Sea Peoples’ quay at Dor or the later Phoenician sites in what had been northern Canaan—can be traced to Crete and the Cycladic islands in the Aegean, where ashlar quays make their appearance in the 18th century B.C.E., more than a millennium before the quay shown here.