The world’s oldest known monumental arch, part of a gateway, has been unearthed by the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon, headed by Harvard professor Lawrence E. Stager. Some older arches have been found in Mesopotamia and Egypt but they are smaller and part of domestic dwellings or subterranean chambers, not in public settings. The Ashkelon arch dates to 1900–1750 B.C. and measures 11.5 feet high and 8 feet wide on the inside. The structure, made of sun-dried bricks, is thought to have been the innermost of three arched gateways through which one entered the city from the north.

Professor Stager will describe this and other exciting recent finds—such as evidence of Ashkelon’s fiery destruction in 604 B.C. at the hands of Babylonian king Nebuchadrezzar (known in the Bible as Nebuchadnezzar)—in an upcoming article for BAR. In the meantime, readers can refresh their memories of Ashkelon’s long history by re-reading Stager’s 3-part series: “When Canaanites and Philistines Ruled Ashkelon,” BAR 17:02, “Why Were Hundreds of Dogs Buried at Ashkelon?” BAR 17:03, and “Eroticism and Infanticide at Ashkelon,” BAR 17:04.