Old Jaffa is a large and complex tell in which there are remains of continuous settlement for the past 5000 years. The city gained its importance thanks to its location on the coast of the Land of Israel and its role as a center for transportation and commerce along both the land and sea routes. The city has its beginnings in the Early Bronze Age and Middle Bronze Age 2, but from those periods we have only very meager remains because these are the deepest strata on the tell. There are clearer remains from the Late Bronze Age onwards and they indicate that Jaffa was populated continuously as a port city.
The question arises: did Jaffa function only as the port city of Jerusalem, Ramla and other settlements throughout history, or was it also a city in its own right? The results of the recent archaeological excavations seem to demonstrate that the fate of Jaffa was indeed dependent on the political and strategic importance its harbor.