Azor (also Azur) is a vast archaeological site located in the modern cities of Azor and Holon. The heart of the site is Tel Azor located in the city of Azor between Shprincek, Herzl and Ha-Histadrut streets. The mound is about six kilometers from the sea and sits on the second kurkar Ridge from the sea. Excavations at the mound itself were only done on its southern edge, so our knowledge about it is limited, but many salvage excavations were done around the mound and revealed mainly cemeteries that added information about the site.

The sites name and ancient sources

Azor is not mentioned in the Mesoratic text of the Bible, but it is mentioned in the Septuagint translation as one of the cities in the possession of the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:45). In addition, it is mentioned in the annals of Sennacherib, king of Assyria from the end of the eighth century BCE, where it appears as one of the cities under the control of Ashkelon along with Bnei Brak, Jaffa and Beit Dagon. The name of the ancient settlement was preserved in the name of the village Yazur that sat on the mound until 1948.

The remains on the mound from the biblical periods

The earliest remains in Tel Azor are from the Early Bronze Age 1 (4th millennium BC). The next periods of which remains were found in the tell are Late Bronze Age 1 (1550-1400 BC) and Iron Age 1 (approximately 1200-1000 BC). In the Late Bronze Age, there was a large building with many rooms in the mound that burned and collapsed, but later, in that period, people resettled in the area of the building. After that, Azor was abandoned and there is no evidence of settlement in the mound for over two hundred years until the Iron Age 1. During this period, the city was fortified with a glacis and much Philistine pottery was found in this phase, something that may indicate on the identity of the inhabitants of Azor at the beginning of the Iron Age. After this period, no remains were found in Tel Azor until the Roman period.

The remains around the mound

In the area around the mound, many archaeological remains were found, mainly cemeteries, from the Chalcolithic period to the Ottoman period. Few graves from the Late Bronze Age and more than fifty graves from the Iron Age 1 and 2A (approximately 1200-800 BCE) were uncovered. Philistine pottery was found in a significant part of the Iron Age graves, as in the mound, but typical Canaanite pottery was also found in graves from this period. Some of the graves were jars that contained the ashes of the person buried, a custom that was rare in Canaan but common in Greece. The Philistine vessels and the special burial of some of the buried led Moshe Dothan, who directed the excavation, to the conclusion that the residents of Azor were Philistines. David Ben-Shlomo who also explored the site Moves away from the conclusion that its inhabitants were Philistines and claims that during this period the burial customs were not yet consolidated and therefore there was a great deal of variation between the graves.

Later periods

No significant remains were found in Azor late to the ninth century BC until the Roman period, from which few finds were uncovered. From the Byzantine period, a structure with a mosaic floor that may have been a church was uncovered in the mound, and many remains from that period were uncovered around the mound. Azor continued to be settled in the early Islamic period, from which remains were found on the mound and its surroundings. During the Crusader period, a citadel called Chateau de Plain was built on the mound, and was later destroyed by the Mamluks in the 13th century, and its remains are clearly visible today on the mound. During the Ottoman period and during the British Mandate, the village of Yazur was located on the mound.

The excavations in Azor

Excavations in Azor were numerous over the years. Two excavations were made on the southern edge of the mound itself, by Gophna and Busheri in 1966 and by Uzi Ad in 2011-2012. Many excavations were conducted around the mound and the most important ones for the biblical periods were led by Moshe Dothan who excavated the cemetery from the Bronze and Iron Ages in 1958-1960.


Amir Golani and Edwin Van Den Brink. 1999. “Salvage Excavations at the Early bronze Age ia Settlement of Azor” ‘Atiqot 1999 1-49.

David Ben-Shlomo. 2008. “The Cemetery of Azor and Early Iron Age Burial Practices” Levant, 40:1, 29-54.

 עוזי עד, אמיר גולני ואורית סגל. 2014. “תל אזור” חדשות ארכיאולוגיות גיליון 126.