An ancient Canaanite
port on the Mediterranean coast. The earliest mention
of it in a Classical text is in the Periplus
Skylax of Karyanda, now thought to be of the second
half of the 4th c. B.C. He wrote that at Joppa “Andromeda was abandoned to the sea -monster.” In Persian
and Early Hellenistic times Joppa belonged to the Sidonians. Under the Ptolemies it became autonomous (Diod.
) and a local mint was established there. The
Hasmoneans conquered the city and replaced its original
population with Jews (I Macc. 13:11). It became the
main harbor of their kingdom. After Pompey's conquest
of Palestine in 63 B.C., Joppa became autonomous again,
but it returned to the Jews after a short time (Joseph.
). After the accession of Herod the Great the
city became part of his domain (Joseph. AJ 14.396
the time of the Jewish War Vespasian granted autonomy
to the city, naming it Flavia Joppe. The city flourished
also in Late Roman and Byzantine times.
The ancient mound was excavated in the years between
1955 and 1966. The earlier occupation levels belong to
the Late Bronze and Iron Ages; the latest to Late Roman
and Byzantine times. Since the area is still densely populated, excavations were restricted. To the Persian period
belongs part of a city wall, unearthed over a length of
12 m. It was dated by imported Attic pottery. To the
Hellenistic period is dated a fortress of considerable size.
From the Early Roman period and later, scanty remains
of dwellings and burial caves were discovered.
J. Kaplan, “Jaffa,” Israel Exploration
6 (1956) 259-60; 12 (1962) 149-50.