Photographer: Jimi Kedoshim, courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority

Beside a new set of railroad tracks in Ashdod, the remains of an ancient Assyrian palace lie partially exposed. The thick walls of the eighth-century B.C.E. building are easily visible at the bottom of the excavation squares. White sandbags protect the edges of the balks, which are the remaining vertical sides of excavation trenches that excavators leave to preserve a record of the stratigraphy of the site. The circular installations at top and left of center are two potter’s kilns from the Hellenistic period, hundreds of years later than the Assyrian palace.