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Aphek Aphek

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Transliterated Name Source Name
Tel Afek Hebrew תל אפק‎‎
Kŭlat Râs el 'Ain Arabic كولات راس يل 'اين
Binar Bashi Ottoman
Surdi fontes Early Frankish ‎‎
'Auja Arabic 'اوجا
Abu Butrus Arabic ابو بوتروس
Antipatris Hebrew ‎‎אנטיפטריס
Antipatris Ancient Greek Αντιπατρίς‎‎
Pegae Hellenistic Period

Aphek is located about 12 km. east of Tel Aviv. It has a long history of habitation appearing for example in 19th century BCE Egyptian Execration texts. Aphek is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in a list of conquered Canaanite cities (Joshua 12:18, etc.) and as the base from which the Philistines set out to fight Israel (1 Samuel 4:1, 1 Samuel 29:l). In the Hellenistic period, the city of Pegae occupied the mound. It was expanded by Herod the Great and renamed Antipatris, after his father. It was also occupied in Hellenistic, Early Arab, and Ottoman times.


Tel Aphek (Tell Ras el-'Ain) lies on one of the country's main crossroads, near the source of the Yarkon River, about 12 km (7.5 mi.) east of Tel Aviv (map reference 143.168). The name Aphek already appears in the nineteenth century BCE Egyptian Execration texts. However, the site's identification is based mainly on the topographical list of Thutmose III, where it is located between Lod, Ono, and Jehud to the south and Socoh to the north. It is also mentioned in a topographical list of Amenhotep II. In the Bible, Aphek is mentioned in the list of conquered Canaanite cities (Jos. 12:18, etc.) and as the base from which the Philistines set out to fight Israel (1 Sam. 4:1, 29:1). In a document of the Assyrian king Esarhaddon, and in an Aramaic letter from the early sixth century BCE apparently sent from Ekron, it is referred to as a city on the way to Egypt. In the Hellenistic period, the city of Pegae occupied the mound. It was expanded by Herod the Great and renamed Antipatris, after his father. Josephus (War II, 513) mentions the tower of Aphek as a refuge for Jews from Antipatris during the First Revolt (66-73 CE). The name Antipatris became Abu Butrus in the Early Arab period. The village on the mound was later called 'Auja, after the Arabic name of the Yarkon River. The Ottoman fortress, which still stands on the mound's summit, was built in the sixteenth century and called Binar Bashi.


Pre-1960 Excavations

In 1923, W. F. Albright conducted a survey on the mound that yielded Middle and Late Bronze Age pottery, as well as Iron Age I sherds. In his opinion, these confirmed the identification of the site with Aphek. Hellenistic and Roman pottery was also found. In 1935 and 1936, two areas and two test pits were excavated under the supervision of J. Ory, on behalf of the Mandatory Department of Antiquities, on the north side of the mound, in connection with installations for the projected Jerusalem water supply.

1961 Excavations

Further excavations were carried out in 1961 by A. Eitan, on behalf of the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums. These were in three areas (I-III) along the foot of the mound's southeast slope.

Excavations in the 1970s and 1980s

From 1972 to 1985, thirteen seasons of excavations were conducted at Tel Aphek, on behalf of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University and the Petah Tiqva municipality. The Israel Exploration Society, Cornell University, Allegheny College, Baylor University, Rice University, and the Baptist Theological Seminary of New Orleans also participated in several of the seasons. The excavations were under the direction of M. Kochavi and P. Beck. From 1973 to 1978, a regional archaeological survey was conducted in the upper basin of the Yarqon River on behalf of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University and the Archaeological Survey of lsrael, under the direction of I. Beit-Arieh, R. Gophna, M. Kochavi, D. Eitam, and I. Finkelstein. As part of this project, excavations were carried out at 'Izbet Sartah and at Tel Dalit. Eight areas were excavated on the mound.

Maps, Aerial Views, and Plans
Maps, Aerial Views, and Plans


  • Biblical Location Map of the area from

Aerial Views

  • Annotated Satellite Image of Aphek from
  • Aphek in Google Earth
  • Aphek on


Normal Size

  • Plan of the site from Stern et al (1993)


  • Plan of the site from Stern et al (1993)

Byzantine Earthquake - 4th-5th century CE

Karcz and Kafri (1978: 244-245) reported that tilted and distorted walls and subsiding arches were encountered in the excavations of the Byzantine town of Antipatris (Aphek) which led Kochavi (1976) and Kochavi (personal communication to Karcz) to attribute the end and decay of the town to the earthquake of 419 AD. In his preliminary report on excavations Kochavi (1975) reported that very little was uncovered in the Early Byzantine Period and suggested that Byzantine Antipatris, as a city of any importance, probably came to its end around the beginning of the 5th century B.C.E. while Kochavi (1981) reports that the entire city of Antipatris was destroyed by an earthquake in 419 CE. Golan (2008) does not present any earthquake evidence but mentions that Kochavi thought that the city was destroyed by the Cyril Quake of 363 CE.

The fact that most of the coins dated to the second half of the fourth century CE suggests that the cardo may have been abandoned at the beginning of the Byzantine period, which seems to corroborate the excavators’ conclusions (Kochavi 1989) that assumed the city was destroyed in the year 363 CE.
The latest coins reported by Kochavi (1975), apparently coming from the Early Byzantine level, dated to Constantine the Great (308-337 C.E.), Constantius II (337-361 C.E.), and Arcadius (395-408 C.E.).

Jones (2021) added
Caution must be exercised in interpreting the numismatic data, however, as the ceramic fords included PRS 3 forms dating to the mid-5th-6th century (Golan 2008: fig. 5.5-6). More troubling is the apparent presence of `Mefjar ware' (i.e. Islamic Cream Ware), which dates no earlier than the late 7th century (see Walmsley 2001), in the `earthquake stratum' (Neidinger 1982: 167). This may indicate multiple destructions, but without more complete publication of the excavations, this is difficult to evaluate. It is, however, worth noting the presence of a bishop of Antipatris at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 (Dauphin 2000; Frankel and Kochavi 2000: 23, 31). This may be explained, as Fischer (1989: 1806) suggests, by assuming that the role of Antipatris `was filled with a great number of smaller settlements' like Khirbat Dhikrin (Zikrin) after the 418/419 earthquake, but it is equally likely that Antipatris was simply not abandoned in the early 5th century.

Seismic Effects
Byzantine Earthquake - 4th-5th century CE

Effect Location Image (s) Comments
Tilted and distorted walls and subsiding arches unspecified
tilted and distorted walls and subsiding arches - Karcz and Kafri (1978: 244-245)

Intensity Estimates
Byzantine Earthquake - 4th-5th century CE

Effect Location Image (s) Comments Intensity
Tilted and distorted walls and subsiding arches unspecified
tilted and distorted walls and subsiding arches - Karcz and Kafri (1978: 244-245) VII +
This archaeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VII (7) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224).

Notes and Further Reading

Bibliography from Stern et. al. (1993 v.1)

History and identification

W. F. Albright, JPOS 2 (1922), 184-189; 3 (1923), 50-53; id., BASOR II (1923), 3-7; 81 (1941), 18-19

M. Noth, Das Buch Josua, Tiibingen 1953, 72.


J. Ory andJ. B. Illife, QDAP 5 (1936), 111-126

J. Ory, ibid. 6(1937), 99-120

A. Eitan, IEJ 12 (1962), 151-152; id., RB69 (1962),407-408

M. Kochavi,IEJ22 (1972), 238-239; 23 (1973), 245-246; 24 (1974), 261-262; 26 (1976), 51-52; 27 (1977), 54-55; 33 (1983), 121; id., Excavations at Aphek-Antipatris, Tel Aviv 1972-1975; id., RB 81 (1974), 85-87; 83 (1976), 80-87, id. (and P. Beck), TA 2 (1975), 17-42, 45-85; id., Aphek-Antipatris I972-I973: Preliminary Report, Tel Aviv 1976; ibid. (Review), BIAL 17 (1980), 175-177; id. (eta!.), Aphek-Antipatris 1974-1977: The Inscriptions, Tel Aviv 1978; ibid. (Review), BIAL 17 (1980), 177; RB 88 (1981), 269-270; Syria 57 (1980), 331; id. (and A. Demsky), BAR4/3 (1978), 19~22; id., Expedition 20/4 (1978), 12-17; id. BA 42 (1979), 71; 44 (1981), 75-86;id., Reflections on the Bible (Y. Ron Fest.), 3, Tel Aviv 1979, 181-188; id. (eta!.), ZDPV95 (1979), 121-165; id., Antike Welt II (1980), 46-56; id., ESI2 (1983), 1-4; 3 (1984), 4-5; 4(1985) 5-6; id., Aphek-Antipatris, Five Thousand Years of History, Tel Aviv 1989; id., Aphek in Canaan: The Egyptian Governor's Residence and Its Finds (Israel Museum Cat. 312), Jerusalem 1990

P. Beck, TA 2 (1975), 45-85; 12 (1985), 17-28, 181-203; id. (and M. Kochavi), ibid., 29-42; id., Insight Throughimages(E. Porada Fest.; Bibliotheca Mesopotamica 21), Malibu, Calif. 1986, 29-34

A. F. Rainey, ibid. 2 (1975), 125-129; 3 (1976), 137-140

R. Giveon, ibid. 5 (1978), 188-191

Y. Yadin, ZDPV94(1978), 1-23

W. W. Halla, TA 8 (1981), 18-24

D. I. Owen, ibid., 1-17; id., Ugarit in Retrospect: Fifty Years of Ugarit and Ugaritic (ed. G. D. Young), Winona Lake, Ind. 1981, 49-53; Buried History 18/2 (1982), 28

W. Neidinger, TA 9 (1982), 157-169; id., ESI5 (1986), 2

I. Singer, TA !0 (1983), 3-25

S. Hellwing and R. Gophna, ibid. II (1984), 48-59

E. D. Oren, Journal of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities 14 (1984), 49-50; Aphek-Antipatris 1978-1985: The Letter from Ugarit, Philological and Archaeological Considerations (Reprint Series 7), Tel-Aviv 1987

Weippert 1988 (Ortsregister)

E. Braun, PEQ 121 (1989), 1-43

S. Wimmer, Jahrbuch des Deutschen Evangelischen Instituts fiir Altertumswissenschaft des Heiligen Landes I (1989), 52-53; id., Studies in Egyptology Presented to Miriam Lichtheim, Jerusalem 1990, I 065- 1106.

Bibliography from Stern et. al. (2008)

Main Publications

Aphek-Antipatris I: Excavation of Areas A and B, The 1972–1976 Seasons (The Emery & Claire Yass Publications in Archaeology; Tel Aviv University Sonia & Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology Monograph Series 19; ed. M. Kochavi), Tel Aviv 2000; ibid. (Reviews), BASOR 327 (2002), 84–85. — IEJ 53 (2003), 136–139

Y. Gadot, Continuity and Change: Cultural Processes in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages in Israel’s Central Coastal Plain, 1–2 (Ph.D. diss.), Tel Aviv 2003.


J. Briend, Transeuphratène 2 (1990), 109–123

A. Kindler, INJ 11 (1990–1991), 61–71

M. Kochavi, ABD, 1, New York 1992, 272–274; id. (& I. Beit-Arieh), Map of Rosh ha-‘Ayin (78) (Archaeological Survey of Israel), Jerusalem 1994; id., OEANE, 1, New York 1997, 147–151; id. (& Y. Gadot), TA 28 (2001), 310; id. (& E. Yadin), The Middle Bronze Age in the Levant, Wien 2002, 189–225; id. (& Y. Gadot), ESI 115 (2003), 40*–41*

P. Beck, Aspects of Art and Iconography (Nimet Özgüc Fest.; eds. M. J. Mellink et al.), Ankara 1993, 671–673; id., Imagery and Representation, Tel Aviv 2002, 288–292, 390–485

P. Daviau, Houses, Sheffield 1993, 421–422

O. Margalith, VT 44 (1994), 109–113

Y. Meshorer, INJ 13 (1994–1999), 86–89

L. Nigro, Contributi e materiali di archeologia orientale 5 (1995); 6 (1996), 1–69

A. Zertal, Michmanim 9 (1996), 73–82; Corpus, 1 (O. Keel), Göttingen 1997, 78–99

S. Wimmer, Jerusalem Studies in Egyptology, Wiesbaden 1998, 87–123; I. Accos, ESI 112 (2000), 55*–56*

M. Bietak & K. Kopetzky, Synchronisation, Wien 2000, 98

R. T. Schaub, The Archaeology of Jordan and Beyond, Winona Lake, IN 2000, 444–464

R. Kletter, Levant 33 (2001), 95–104

S. L. Cohen, Canaanites, Chronologies, and Connections, Winona Lake, IN 2002 (index)

S. Feldman, BAR 28/5 (2002), 52–59

S. Shoval & M. Gaft, Imagery and Representation, Tel Aviv 2002, 291

W. Dietrich & S. Munger, Saxa Loquentur, Münster 2003, 39–59

Z. Herzog, ibid., 85–100

W. Horowitz et al., JAOS 122 (2002), 755

A. Cohen-Weinberger & Y. Goren, Ägypten und Levante 14 (2004), 69–100

Y. Elitzur, Ancient Place Names in the Holy Land: Preservation and History, Jerusalem 2004, 124–126

Y. Gadot, ASOR Annual Meeting 2004,

M. Gichon, JSRS 13 (2004), xviii

M. A. S. Martin, Ägypten und Levante 14 (2004), 265–284; id., Aspects of the Egyptian Involvement in Late Bronze and Early Iron Age Canaan: The Egyptian and Egyptian-Style Pottery—A Case Study, 1–2 (Ph.D. diss.), Wien 2005

A. Yasur & Y. Goren, TA 31 (2004), 22–32.

Wikipedia Pages

Biblical Aphek