Phoenicians on the Northern Coast of Israel 
in the Biblical Period 

The exhibition focuses on the material culture of the Phoenicians, seafaring merchants who resided in cities along the coast of the Eastern Mediterranean basin, and their contribution to maritime architecture. The exhibition hall has been designed to recreate the atmosphere of a Phoenicians site: the artifact are displayed in glass showcases mounted upon original stones found in maritime excavations; broken seashells litter the floor and calm ocean sounds fill the space. Most of the finds in the exhibit were discovered in excavations of Phoenicians sites at Akhzib, off the coast of Shavei Zion, Tel Akko, Tel Keisan, Tel Abu Hawam, and the Phoenician harbor at Athlit.
Phoenician funerary stele, sandstone, depicting 'Sign of Tanit'
7th Century BCE
The inscription: 'Stele of Milk son of Ashtartga'
The Greeks gave the name 'Phoenicians to the population of traders who lived in the seaports along the coastal strip at the foot of Mount Lebanon and to the south of it. The Biblical name for those living along the northern coast was 'Sidonians'. David and Solomon recognized the superiority of the Phoenicians in maritime trade, and they maintained political and commercial ties with Hiram, King of Tyre. Diplomatic ties led to the marriage of Ahab, King of Israel, to Jezebel, daughter of Ethba'al, King of Sidon.

During the 11th and 10th centuries BCE, according to some scholars, or in the 8th century, according to others, the process of Phoenician expansion and settlement took place. It was usually accomplished by peaceful means through trade in a westward direction, first to Cyprus, then to other islands of the Mediterranean, and finally to its distant shores: North Africa, Sicily, Sardinia, Malata, and Spain; and in a southward direction to settlements along the southern shores of the Land of Israel. The material culture of the Phoenicians represents a condition of the Canaanite culture in the region of the Land of Israel and Syria during the Late Bronze Age, but it has certain special characteristics of its own.


1.  Female protome, painted terracotta, 6th Century BCE
2.  Ivory plaque depicting a woman at the window, 
     Late Israelite (Iron) Period
3.  Cosmetic spoon, bone, Late Israelite (Iron) Period
4.  Clay statuette of a pregnant woman, 6th-5th Centuries BCE


A catalogue of this exhibit is available for purchase

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