Tel Dor (Kh. al-Burj or Tantura), is an archeological site located on Israel's Mediterranean coast, about 30 km south of Haifa. Lying on
a small headland at the north side of a protected inlet, it is identified with D-jr of Egyptian sources, Biblical Dor, and with Dor/Dora
of Greek and Roman sources. The documented history of the site begins in the Late Bronze Age (though the town itself was founded in
the Middle Bronze Age, c. 2000 BCE), and ends in the Crusader period. The port dominated the fortunes of the town throughout its 3000-odd
year history. Its primary role in all these diverse cultures was that of a commercial entrepot and a gateway between East and West. The
remains of a successor town, the village of Tantura, lies a few hundred meters south of the archaeological site as does the modern
kibbutz and resort of Nahsholim.
Dor (Hebrew: דוֹר, meaning "generation", "habitation"), was known as Dora to the Greeks and Romans. Dor was successively ruled by
Canaanites, Sea Peoples, Israelites, Phoenicians, Persians, Assyrians, Greeks, and Romans.
Scholars who reconcile Bronze and Iron Age history in the Levant with biblical traditions write the following: Dor was an ancient royal
city of the Canaanites, (Joshua 12:23) whose ruler was an ally of Jabin king of Hazor against Joshua, (Joshua 11:1,2). In the 12th
century, the town appears to have been taken by the Tjekker, and was ruled by them at least as late as the early 11th century BCE. It
appears to have been within the territory of the tribe of Asher, though allotted to Manasseh, (Joshua 17:11; Judges 1:27). It was one of
Solomon's commissariat districts (Judges 1:27; 1 Kings 4:11). It has been placed in the ninth mile from Caesarea, on the way to
Ptolemais. Just at the point indicated is the small village of Tantura, probably an Arab corruption of Dora.
Many scholars doubt the historical accuracy of biblical texts relevant to times prior to the 9th century BCE. They suggest that the
biblical context for such places as early Dor is more mythology than history.
The city was known as Dor even before the Greeks arrived or had contact with the peoples in Israel. When the Greeks came to the city and
learned its name to be Dor, they ascribed it the identity Dora, the Hellenization of the name. The "a" is merely the noun ending to the
word. The God/cult of Dor, where the term Doric, as in the column, comes from, was ascribed to the city. Hence, in Hebrew, Dor, in
Greek/Latin, Dora.
In ca. 460 BCE, the Athenians formed an alliance with the Egyptian leader Inaros against the Persians. In order to reach the Nile
delta and support the Egytians, the Athenian fleet had to sail south. Athens had secure landing sites for their triremes as far south as
Cyprus but they needed a way station between Cyprus and Egypt. They needed a naval base on the coast of Lebanon or Palestine but the
Phoenician cities of Sidon and Tyre held much of the mainland coast and those cities were loyal to Persia. Fifty miles south of those
cities, however, the Athenians found an isolated and tempting target for establishing a way station.
The Athenians seized Dor from Sidon. Dor had many strategic advantages for the Athenians, starting with its distance from Sidon. The
Athenians had a maritime empire built on oared ships. They did not need large tracts of land and instead needed strategically situated
coastal sites that had fresh water, provisions and protection from bad weather and enemy attack. Dor had an unfailing freshwater spring
near the edge of the sea and to its south a lagoon and sandy beach enclosed by a chain of islets. This was precisely what the Athenian
fleet needed for landing their ships and resting their crews. Dor itself ws strategically situated. It stood atop a rocky promonitory and
was protected on its landward side by a marshy swale that formed a natural moat. Beyond the coastal lowlands was Mount Carmel. The town
had Persian-built fortifications. In addition to this, the town had straight streets and Phoenician dye pits for the purpling of cloth.
For these reasons, Dor became the most remote outpost of the Athenian navy.
Today in Israel a moshav is named "Dor" after the old city, situated south of Tel Dor...