This study addresses the post-occupational history of Arsuf (Apollonia-Arsuf) on the Mediterranean coast of Israel. Archaeological excavations at the site have revealed its continuous occupation from the late sixth century BCE through to the mid-thirteenth century CE, when it was destroyed by the Mamluks and never properly resettled since. Although the site of Arsuf (Crusader Arsur) was razed to the ground and has remained a permanent ruin, human activity there is attested to in intermittent undertakings, such as scavenging for building materials and the encampment and training of British troops in WWI. The site’s post-occupational biography forms a test case of archaeological investigation of sites whose history does not come to an end after they are no longer occupied.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Abel, F.-M. (1939−40). La liste des donations de Baîbars en Palestine d’après la charte de 663H. (1265). Journal of the Palestine Oriental Society 19: 38–44.
Abu al-Fida. (1848). Taqwim al-Buldan. n.p., Paris.
Amitai, R. (2005). The conquest of Arsuf by Baybars: political and military aspects. Mamluk Studies Review 9: 61–83.
Amitai-Preiss, N. and Vincenz, A. de. (2017). The IDF House in the Old City, Jerusalem: an inscribed pipe. Hadashot Arkheologiyot–Excavations and Surveys in Israel 128. http://www.hadashot-esi.org.il/images//Bet_Zahal-pipe.pdf
Avissar, M. (1996). The clay tobacco pipes. In Ben-Tor, A., Avissar, M., and Portugali, Y. (eds.), Yoqne‘am I: The Late Periods. Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, pp. 198–201.
Avissar, M. (2005). The clay tobacco pipes. In Avissar, M. (ed.), Tel Yoqne‘am: Excavations on the Acropolis. Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem, pp. 83–93.
Avissar, M. and Stern, E. J. (2005). Pottery of the Crusader, Ayyubid, and Mamluk Periods in Israel. Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem.
Avizur, S. (1990). Industrial archeology of the Sharon. In Grossman, D., Degani, A., and Shmueli, A. (eds.), Hasharon: Between Yarkon and Karmel. Eretz, Tel Aviv, pp. 335–344 (Hebrew).
Bacharach, J. L. (1973). The dinar versus the ducat. International Journal of Middle East Studies 4: 77−96.
Ben-Arieh, J. and Bartal, I. (eds.) (1983). The History of Eretz Israel: The Last Phase of Ottoman Rule (1799–1917). Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem (Hebrew).
Benvenisti, M. (1970). The Crusades in the Holy Land. Israel Universities Press, Jerusalem.
Cohen, A. (ed.) (1981). The History of Eretz Israel under the Mamluk and Ottoman Rule (1260–1804). Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem (Hebrew).
Cohen, A. (1985). Ottoman rule and the re-emergence of the coast of Palestine (17th–18th centuries). Revue de l’Occident musulman et de la Méditerranée 39: 163–175.
Conder, C. R. and Kitchener, H. H. (1882). The Survey of Western Palestine, II, Samaria. Palestine Exploration Fund, London.
Cytryn-Silverman, K. (2013). The Islamic-period pottery. In Ben-Ami, D. (ed.), Jerusalem: Excavations in the Tyropoeon Valley (Giv‘ati Parking Lot), Vol. 1. Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem, pp. 167–204.
Dekkel, A. (2008). The Ottoman clay pipes. In Tzaferis, V. and Israeli, S. (eds.), Paneas II: Small Finds and Other Studies. Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem, pp. 113–164.
Drory, J. (1992). The impact of the Mamluks’ rule on the history of Palestine. In Drory, J. (ed.), Palestine in the Mamluk Period. Yad Izhak Ben Zvi, Jerusalem, pp. 1–12. (Hebrew).
Eger, A. A. (2006). The stratigraphy and architecture (Areas A and A2). In Stieglitz, R. R. (ed.), Tel Tanninim: Excavations at Krokodeilon Polis, 1996–1999. American Schools of Oriental Research, Boston, pp. 21–59.
Falls, C. and Becke, A. F. (1930). History of the Great War: Military Operations, Egypt, and Palestine, from June 1917 to the end of the War. His Majesty’s Stationery Office, London.
Fantalkin, A. and Tal, O. (2015). Tell Qudadi: An Iron Age IIB Fortress on the Central Mediterranean Coast of Israel (with References to Earlier and Later Periods). Peeters, Leuven.
Fischer, M. and Taxel, I. (2014). Yavneh-Yam in the Byzantine-Early Islamic transition: the archaeological remains and their socio-political implications. Israel Exploration Journal 64: 212–242.
Fischer, M. and Taxel, I. (2021). Life in the dunes: the western hinterland of Yubna/Yavneh in late Ottoman and British Mandate times. Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies 9(1–2): 29–63.
Gaudefroy-Demombynes, M. (1923). La Syrie à l’époque de Mamelouks. Geuthner, Paris.
Gibson, S., Kingsley, S., and Clarke, J. (1999). Town and country in the southern Carmel: report on the Landscape Archaeology Project at Dor (LAPD). Levant 31: 71−121.
Glick, A. (2020). Twentieth century militaria. In Tal, O. (ed.), Apollonia-Arsuf: Final Report of the Excavations, Volume II: Excavations Outside the Medieval Town Walls. Tel Aviv University, Monograph Series of the Institute of Archaeology 38. Eisenbrauns, University Park & Emery and Claire Yass Publications in Archaeology of the Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv, pp. 299−302.
Grossman, D. (1990). The Arab settlement process in Ottoman times. In Grossman, D., Degani, A., and Shmueli, A. (eds.), Hasharon: Between Yarkon and Karmel. Eretz, Tel Aviv, pp. 263–277 (Hebrew).
Grossman, D. (1994). Expansion and Desertion: The Arab Village and its Offshoots in Ottoman Palestine. Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem (Hebrew).
Guérin, V. (1875). Description Géographique, Historique et Archéologique de la Palestine, Samarie, II. L’Imprimerie nationale, Paris.
Hartmann, R. (1910). Die Strasse von Damaskus nach Kairo. Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 64: 665–702.
Hütteroth, W.-D. and Abdulfattah, K. (1977). Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late 16th Century. Vorstand der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft, Erlangen.
Irby C. L. and Mangles, J. (1844). Travels in Egypt and Nubia, Syria and the Holy Land. John Murray, London.
Irwin, R. (1977). Iqta‘ and the end of the Crusader states. In Holt, P. M. (ed.), The Eastern Mediterranean Lands in the Period of the Crusades. Aris and Phillips, Warminster, pp. 62–77.
Jackson-Tal, R. E. and Tal, O. (2013). Crusader glass in context: the destruction of Arsur (Apollonia-Arsuf, Israel), April 1265. Journal of Glass Studies 55: 85–100.
Jacotin, P. (1826). Description de l’Égypt: Carte Yopographique de l’Égypt et des Plusieurs Parties Limitrophes, Levée Pendant l’Expédition de l’Armée Française. Dépôt de la Guerre, Paris.
Khalidi, W. (1992). All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948. Institute for Palestine Studies, Washington DC.
Kool, R. (forthcoming). Coins – Qaqun excavations (2015–2016). ‘Atiqot.
Le Strange, G. (1890). Palestine under the Moslems: A Description of Syria and the Holy Land from A.D. 650 to 1500. Alexander P. Watt for the Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund, London.
Lewis, R. Y. (2020). Carpe momento: in quest of the material evidence of the Battle of Arsuf (7 September 1191). In Tal, O. (ed.), Apollonia-Arsuf: Final Report of the Excavations, Volume II: Excavations outside the Medieval Town Walls. Tel Aviv University. Eisenbrauns, University Park, and Emery and Claire Yass Publications in Archaeology of the Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv, pp. 349–375.
Lynch, W. F. (1849). Narrative of the United State’s Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea. Lea and Blanchard, Philadelphia.
Marom, R. (2008). From Time Immemorial: Chapters in the History of Even Yehuda and its Region in Light of Historical and Archeological Research. Even Yehuda Local Municipality, Even Yehuda (Hebrew).
Massey, W. T. (1919). How Jerusalem Was Won: Being the Record of Allenby’s Campaign in Palestine. Constable, London.
Perkins, A. (1951). Archaeological news: the Near East. American Journal of Archaeology 55: 81–100.
Pines, M., Sapir-Hen, L., and Tal, O. (2017). Crusader diet in times of war and peace: Arsur (Israel) as a case study. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 36(3): 307–328.
Pococke, R. (1743−1748). Description of the East and Some Other Countries, II. W. Bowyer, London.
Prag, K. (2008). Excavations by K. M. Kenyon in Jerusalem, 1961–1967, Vol. V: Discoveries in Hellenistic to Ottoman Jerusalem. Oxbow, Oxford.
Press, M. D. (2015). Identification of Ottoman sites. In Huster, Y. (ed.), Ashkelon 5: The Land Behind Ashkelon. Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, IN, pp. 89–107.
Raban, A. (1995). Dor-Yam: maritime and coastal installations in Dor at their geomorphological and stratigraphic context. In Stern, E. (ed.), Excavations at Dor, Final Report, Vol. IA: Areas A and C: Introduction and Stratigraphy. Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, pp. 285–354.
Raphael, K. and Tepper, Y. (2005). The archaeological evidence from the Mamluk siege of Arsuf. Mamluk Studies Review 9: 85–100.
Rauchberger, L. (2017). Ottoman clay tobacco pipes from the seawall excavations in Jaffa. In Burke, A. A., Burke, K. S., and Peilstöcker, M. (eds.), The History and Archaeology of Jaffa 2. Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, Los Angeles, pp. 349–369.
Reland, H. (1714). Palaestina ex Monumentis Veteribus Illustrate, II. Willem Broedelet, Utrecht.
Robinson, E. and Smith, E. (1841). Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea, III. Crocker, Boston.
Roll, I. (2008). Der frühislamische Basar und die Kreuzfahrerburg in Apollonia-Arsuf. In Piana, M. (ed.), Burgen und Städte der Kreuzzugszeit. Imhof Verlag, Petersberg, pp. 252–262.
Roll, I. (1999). Introduction: history of the site, its research and excavations. In Roll, I. and Tal, O. (eds.), Apollonia-Arsuf: Final Report of the Excavations, Vol. 1, The Persian and Hellenistic Periods (with Appendices on the Chalcolithic and Iron Age II Remains. Emery and Claire Yass Publications in Archaeology, Tel Aviv, pp. 1–62.
Rosenthal-Heginbottom, R. (2000). Crusader period pottery from Tel Dor. Qadmoniot 119: 61–63 (Hebrew).
Runciman, S. (1951–54). A History of the Crusades. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Sauvaget, J. (1941). La Poste aux Chevaux dans l’Empire des Mamelouks. Adrien-Maisonneuve, Paris.
Schiffer, M. B. (1987). Formation Processes of the Archaeological Record. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.
Schürer, E. (1979 ). The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 B.C. – A.D. 135), Vol. II, Vermes, G., Millar, F., and Black, M. (eds.). T. and T. Clark, Edinburgh.
Simpson, St J. (2000). The clay pipes. In Harper, R. P. and Pringle, D. (eds.), Belmont Castle: The Excavations of a Crusader Stronghold in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 147–171.
Simpson, St. J. (2002). Ottoman pipes from Zir‘in (Tell Jezreel). Levant 34: 159–172.
Simpson, St. J. (2008). Late Ottoman pipes from Jerusalem. In Prag, K. (ed.), Excavations by K. M. Kenyon in Jerusalem, 1961–1967, Vol. V: Discoveries in Hellenistic to Ottoman Jerusalem. Oxbow, Oxford, pp. 433–446.
Stern, E. (1994). Dor, Ruler of the Seas. Israel Exploration Society, Jerusalem.
Stern, E. (1995). Introduction. In Stern, E. (ed.), Excavations at Dor, Final Report, Vol. IA: Areas A and C: Introduction and Stratigraphy. Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, pp. 1–12.
Stieglitz, R. R. (2006a). Miscellaneous artifacts. In Stieglitz, R. R. (ed.), Tel Tanninim: Excavations at Krokodeilon Polis, 1996–1999. American School of Oriental Research, Boston, pp. 201–210.
Stieglitz, R. R. (2006b). Summary and conclusions. In Stieglitz, R. R. (ed.), Tel Tanninim: Excavations at Krokodeilon Polis, 1996–1999. American School of Oriental Research, Boston, pp. 223–229.
Stieglitz, R. R. (2006c). The site and its exploration. In Stieglitz, R. R. (ed.), Tel Tanninim: Excavations at Krokodeilon Polis, 1996–1999. American School of Oriental Research, Boston, pp. 1–14.
Tal, O. and Baidoun, I. (2010). A hoard of Mamluk, Ottoman and Venetian coins (fifteenth to sixteenth centuries) from Apollonia-Arsuf, Israel. Numismatic Chronicle 170: 484–493.
Tal, O. and Roll, I. (2011). Arsur: the site, settlement and Crusader castle, and the material manifestation of their destruction. In Tal, O. (ed.), The Last Supper at Apollonia: The Final Days of the Crusader Castle in Herzliya. Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv, pp. 8–51 (Bi-lingual Hebrew/English).
Taxel, I. (2021). Towards an integration of historical trees into the Mediterranean archaeological record: case studies from central Israel. Environmental Archaeology. https://doi.org/10.1080/14614103.2021.1877512
Taxel, I., Sasson, A., and Fischer, M. (forthcoming). The archaeology of regional Muslim pilgrimage reevaluated: the site of Nabi Rubin (Israel) as a case study. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 387.
Taragan, H. (2004). The tomb of Sayyidnā ‘Alī in Arṣūf: the story of a holy place. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 14: 83–102.
Thompson, E. (1929). Crusader’s Coast. Ernest Benn, London.
Toueg, R. (2008). A trial excavation at Herzl Street, Ramla. Contract Archaeology Reports 3: 67–73 (Hebrew; English summary, p. 64*).
Vincenz, A. de. (2011). Ottoman clay tobacco pipes from Ramla. ‘Atiqot 67: 43*–53*.
Vincenz, A. de. (2017). The ceramics from the Armenian Compound excavations, 2006–2007. In Burke, A. A., Burke, K. S., and Peilstöcker, M. (eds.), The History and Archaeology of Jaffa 2. Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, Los Angeles, pp. 345–359.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
Tal, O., Taxel, I. Arsuf (Apollonia, Palestine) Post-Occupational History: The Biography of a Desolated Site. Int J Histor Archaeol 26, 740–759 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10761-021-00621-8