Tel Dor Excavation Project

Tel Dor office
Institute of Archaeology
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Mt. Scopus 91950
Jerusalem, Israel
Tel. +972 (0)2 5881304

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Fragment of Roman mosaic The last of the great cultural transformations of the ancient world - the Christianization of Rome - might be seen as the come-uppance of eastern philosophy in the age-old struggle between East and West. The rise of Christianity was not a lone phenomenon, however. Several Gnostic eastern religions were vying for supremacy in the Roman world during the second and third centuries CE.

When John Garstang excavated at Dor in the nineteen-twenties, he uncovered two massive structures on the west side of the tell. He interpreted the northern building as a Ionic prostyle temple, of an orthodox Greco-Roman design, and dated it to the early Hellenistic period. This view of the Dor temple might illustrate the simplistic conception of a straightforward takeover of local religions by Hellenism. current reconstruction of the temple
Investigations by the present expedition have turned this picture around. First, the temple is not a Hellenistic foundation, but a Roman one. In fact, it is the latest major urban innovation at Dor, perhaps dating to the brief Severan revival, in the beginning of the 3rd century CE. Second, the excavators were able to demonstrate that this temple was not of canonical design. The integration of Hellenistic or Roman attributes (in this case - Ionic colonnades) into non-Hellenic cults is one of the characteristics of sacral architecture in the eastern Roman empire.