In her doctoral dissertation Ayelet Gilboa identified a chronological horizon at Dor which she calls the “Iron Age I/II Transition Period (Ir1/2)”. This horizon is typified by being slightly later than the strata that characterize the end of the Iron Age 1 (such as Qasile X and Megiddo VIA), and in which the ‘classic’ characteristics of the Iron Age IIA – the burnished red slips, carinated bowls and/or with shaped rims, ‘hippo’ jars, black juglets – do not yet appear (or occur in very small numbers). The evidence that this is truly a real chronological horizon (and not, for instance, merely a regional phenomenon) and that a time frame should be allotted for it is attested to by Cypriot imports: whereas Cypro-Geometric IA ware appears in the strata from the end of the Iron Age 1, the Iron IIa strata in the Land of Israel (even the earliest of them) are characterized by the importation of Cypro-Geometric III ware (especially the group of Black on Red vessels). The intermediate phase is parallel to the Cypro-Geometric Ib-II period.

In two series of C14 dates we determined the duration of this phase to be one or two generations, from about the end of the tenth century to the beginning of the ninth century.

A series of articles that has since appeared (published both by us and other scholars) has established the existence of this phase as a distinct chronological horizon that can be defined as parallel to the strata that were dated in the past as “the end of the Iron Age 1” or “Early Iron Age IIa”.

The finely sliced “segmenting” of the Iron Age 1 / the intermediate period / the Iron Age IIa has profound significance beyond the disputes concerning the absolute chronology in the Land of Israel and its biblical contexts. This segmenting makes it possible for the first time to precisely map the recovery of the Mediterranean cultures from the crisis that occurred at the end of the Bronze Age. The evidence revealed in Israel joins that in a series of new discoveries (and new dates) from around the Mediterranean Sea – particularly in North Africa and Spain. The resumption of bilateral relations between Phoenicia (including the Carmel coast) and Cyprus should be dated to the end of the Iron Age 1 (the horizon we call “Iron 1b”). We can see in the transition period the initial ties with Greece and even with points farther west of there (Sardinia? Spain?); whereas in the later Iron Age IIA there is preliminary evidence of a Phoenician presence in North Africa. Who is responsible for these ties – the Phoenicians? The Cypriots? The Greeks from Euboea? Are these actual colonies? It is difficult to know. However this resurgence of international relations constitutes the background and basis for the developments of the next generations – the establishment of Phoenician and Greek colonies around the Mediterranean, the spreading of the alphabet to Greece, and the commencement of the complex processes of urbanization and construction in Italy, Spain and North Africa.