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Aerial View of Yavne-Yam Yavne-Yam

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Transliterated Name Language Name
Yavne-Yam Hebrew
Maḥouza d’Yamnin Syriac
Maouza d’Yamnias Syriac
Māḥūz Yubnā Arabic

Yavne-Yam (Iamnia-on-the-Sea; Khirbet edh-Dherbeh) is located on the Mediterranean coast, roughly midway between Jaffa and Ashdod, along a natural anchorage. In the nineteenth century the site was visited by G. Rey (1859), V. Guérin (1863), F. G. D. Bedford (1863), C. Warren (1867), C. R. Conder and H. H. Kitchener (1875), and L. C. Clermont-Ganneau (1874 and 1881). V. Guérin was the first to identify the site with the port of Iamneia, which he referred to as Maiumas Iamniae, though such a name does not occur in ancient sources. The site is mentioned in various sources, such as the el-Amarna letters (fourteenth century BCE), where it is called muhazi (harbor); Greek, Latin, Aramaic, and Arabic sources call it “the harbor of Iamnia” (Yavneh), such as Iamniton limen (Ptolemy, Geography V, 16, 2), mahouza d’Yamnin (Vita Petri Iberi 123), maoza d’Yamnias (Johannes Rufus, Plerophoriae 76), mao(u)za Iamnias (ACO III: 38, 51, 146–147), Mahuz Yubna (al-Muqaddasi, in 985), or mahuz e-tani (Idrisi, twelfth century). As was common along the southern Mediterranean coast of Israel in antiquity, two sites bore the name Yavneh: the harbor site, and inland Yavneh, which is identified with Tel Yavneh, about 8 km southeast of the harbor. The first-century CE Roman writer Pliny the Elder speaks explicitly of Iamneae duae, altera intus (“the two towns of Iamneia, one of them inland”), which the geographer Ptolemy alludes to as well. In the Medeba map (mid-sixth century CE), inland Yavneh is denominated “Jabneel which is also Iamneia,” making it clear that Iamneia means Yavneh. In late medieval maps, Yavneh-Yam is alternatively called Portus Jude, Iamneia quondam Portus Iudeorum, or Iamneia Iudeorum portus, thus identifying Yavneh-Yam as the harbor of Jewish inland Yavneh. In recent times the site was called Minet Rubin (the Harbor of Reuben), reflecting the Muslim tradition identifying the area with the burial place of the biblical Reuben.


A. Reifenberg’s (1950) first aerial photographs of the site were followed by M. Dothan’s (1952) archaeological survey. The first archaeological excavations at Yavneh-Yam were carried out by J. Kaplan in 1966–1969 in the eastern ramparts and the monumental “triple gate,” which he attributed to the Middle Bronze Age IIA. Kaplan assumed that the enclosure was a square, 800 by 800 m, the western section of which had been eroded by the sea; but this has been disproved by recent underwater surveys. Several salvage excavations carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority between 1968 and 1992 within the area of the site and its vicinity, including underwater surveys, have revealed remains from the Neolithic period to the Early Islamic period. Monumental structures from the Byzantine period, among which was an elaborate mosaic pavement, were unearthed between areas A and B. Many of these finds, including those of the Tel Aviv University excavations, are on display in the museum at Kibbutz Palmahim. Five seasons of excavations were conducted in 1992–1999 by the Yavneh-Yam Archaeological Project, headed by M. Fischer, on behalf of the Department of Classics and the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University

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


  • Fig. 1 Coastal Palestine 644-800 CE from Taxel (2013)

Aerial Views

  • Annotated Aerial View of Yavne-Yam from
  • Yavne-Yam in Google Earth
  • Yavne-Yam on
  • Fig. 4 Aerial View of the promontory with the Early Islamic fortress from Taxel (2013)
  • Fig. 2 Aerial View of the promontory with the Early Islamic fortress from Taxel (2019)


Site Plan

Normal Size



Entire Site

Yavneh-Yam Stratigraphy Stratigraphy of Yavneh-Yam

Stern et al (2008)

Notes and Further Reading

Bibliography from Stern et al (1993 v. 4)

R. Du Mesnil De Buisson, Syria 7 (1926), 289~325

8 (1927), 277~ 301

M. Dothan,/EJ 2 (1952), 1 04~117; J. Kaplan, Bulletin of the Museum Ha'aretz 10 (1968), 4~5

12 (1970), 13~15

id., IEJ 17 (1967), 269

19 (1969), 120~12l;id., RB75(1968), 402~440

76(1969), 567~568

77 (1970), 388~389

id.,ZDPV91 (1975), 1~17

E. Aya1on, ESI 2 (1983), 109~110

F. Vitto, IEJ 33 (1983), 268~269

id., RB 91 (1984), 258~259; I. Eldarand I. Nir,ES/4(1985), 114~115

HUCMS News 11~12 (1985), 6~7

Weippert 1988,207,216,218, 224

Y. Levy, ESI 7~8 (1988~1989), 188, 202

B. Isaac, IEJ 41 (1991), 132~144.

Bibliography from Stern et al (2008)

Main publication

Yavneh-Yam and Its Environs (eds. M. Fischer & B. Dashti), Palmahim 1991 (Heb.); Yavneh, Yavneh-Yam and Their Neighborhood: Studies in the Archaeology and History of the Judean Coastal Plain (Eretz: Geographic Research & Publications; ed. M. L. Fischer), Tel Aviv 2005.


A. Kuyt & J. W. Wesselius, Bibliotheca Orientalis 48 (1991), 726–735

J. Kaplan, ABD, 6, New York 1992, 1020–1021

A. Kasher, Cathedra 63 (1992), 190

K. A. D. Smelik, IEJ 42 (1992), 55–61

E. Galili et al., IJNA 22 (1993), 61–77

id., ESI 18 (1998), 77–78

A. D. Petersen, Levant 28 (1996), 97–113; id., Egypt and Syria in the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk Eras, 3: Proceedings of the 6th, 7th, and 8th International Colloquium, Leuven, May 1997, 1998 and 1999 (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 102

eds. U. Vermeulen & J. Van Steenbergen), Leuven 2001, 359–383

J. P. Dessel, OEANE, 5, New York 1997, 374– 375

B. H. Isaac, The Near East Under Roman Rule: Selected Papers, Leiden 1998, 3–20

E. Ayalon, ESI 109 (1999), 72*–73*

M. Bietak & K. Kopetzky, Synchronisation, Wien 2000, 123

M. L. Fischer, Antike Welt 34 (2003), 241–252

36/6 (2005), 5–6

id. (& R. E. Jackson-Tal), Journal of Glass Studies 45 (2003), 35–40; id., The Antique Bronzes: Typology, Chronology, Authenticity. The Acts of the 16th International Congress of Antique Bronzes, Bucharest 2004, 175–182

id., Papers from the 3rd Symposium of the International Study Group on Music Archaeology at the Monastery Michaelstein, 9–16.6.2002 (Studien zur Musikarchäologie 4

eds. E. Hickmann & R. Eichmann), Rahden 2004, 437–444

R. Kletter, Welt und Umwelt der Bibel 30/4 (2003), 58–59.

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