In its long and tumultuous history, Dor, located 13 miles south of modern-day Haifa on the northern coast of Israel, underwent many metamorphoses. Established around the 20th century B.C.E., it was originally a Canaanite city; from the Late Bronze Age (1500–1200 B.C.E.) onwards it was a busy trading center, as Cypriot and Mycenaean pottery sherds found at the site testify.

After a 200-year occupation by the Sikil tribe (one of the Sea Peoples), Dor was destroyed around 1050 B.C.E., possibly by the Phoenicians. The Israelites captured the city 50 years later, but they held onto it only briefly, until Pharaoh Shishak invaded in 925 B.C.E. and inflicted further damage. From 874 to 853 B.C.E., King Ahab of Israel rebuilt Dor.

The conquest of Dor by Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III in 733 B.C.E. ushered in a long succession of foreign rulers: After the Assyrians came the Babylonians in about 600 B.C.E., the Persians in the late sixth century B.C.E.—the Greek-style figurine pictured above dates to Dor’s Persian period—then Hellenistic powers after 332 B.C.E. and the Romans in 63 B.C.E. At the beginning of the third century C.E., Dor was abandoned, although it is not clear why.