|Alternate name||Tel Miqne, Tel Mikne|
|Periods||Chalcolithic - Iron Age|
|Archaeologists||Trude Dothan and Seymour Gitin|
Jerome wrote that Ekron was to the east of Azotus and Iamnia (consistent with the modern interpretation), however he mentioned also that some equated the city with Straton's Tower at Caesarea Maritima. This may be a reference to Rabbi Abbahu identification of Ekron with Caesarea in Megillah (Talmud).
Robinson first identified the Arab village of Aqir as the site of Ekron in 1838, and this was accepted until it was contested by Macalister in 1913, who suggested Khirbet Dikerin, and Albright in 1922, who suggested Qatra.
The identification of Ekron as Tel Mikne (Tel Miqne, Khirbet Muqanna) was suggested by Naveh and Kallai in 1957–1958, a theory widely accepted in light of a royal dedication inscription found during the 1996 excavations.
The site of Tel Miqne was lightly occupied beginning in the Chalcolithic period and up to the Early Bronze Age. After a 400-year gap when only the upper tel was occupied, the city underwent a major expansion c.1600 BCE, under the Canaanites.
The Canaanite city had shrunk in the years before its main public building burned in the 13th century BCE, during the Bronze Age collapse, a period of general devastation associated with the Sea Peoples. It was re-established by Philistines at the beginning of the Iron Age, c.12th century BCE. During the Iron Age, Ekron was a border city on the frontier contested between Philistia and the kingdom of Judah.
Records of the Neo-Assyrian Empire also refer to Ekron. The siege of Ekron in 712 BCE is depicted on one of Sargon II's wall reliefs in his palace at Khorsabad, which names the city. Ekron revolted against Sennacherib and expelled Padi, his governor, who was sent to Hezekiah, in Jerusalem, for safe-keeping. Sennacherib marched against Ekron and the Ekronites called upon the aid of the king of Mutsri. Sennacherib turned aside to defeat this army, which he did at Eltekeh, and then returned and took the city by storm, put to death the leaders of the revolt and carried their adherents into captivity. This campaign led to the famous attack of Sennacherib on Hezekiah and Jerusalem, in which Sennacherib compelled Hezekiah to restore Padi, who was reinstated as governor at Ekron. Ashdod and Ekron survived to become powerful city-states dominated by Assyria in the 7th century BCE. The city may have been destroyed by the Neo-Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzer II between 604 BCE and 562 BCE, but it is mentioned, as "Accaron", as late as 1 Maccabees 10:89 (2nd century BCE).
An olive oil production center dating from the seventh century BCE discovered at Ekron has over one hundred large olive oil presses, and is the most complete olive oil production center from ancient times to be discovered. The discovery indicates that olive oil production was highly developed in ancient Israel and that it was a major producer of olive oil for its residents as well as for other parts of the ancient Near East, such as Egypt and especially Mesopotamia.
Ekron is mentioned in Joshua 13:2-3
- "This is the land that still remains: all the regions of the Philistines and all those of the Geshurites from Shihor, which is east of Egypt, northward to the boundary of Ekron."
Joshua 13:13 counts it the border city of the Philistines and seat of one of the five Philistine city lords, and Joshua 15:11 mentions Ekron's satellite towns and villages. The city was reassigned afterwards to the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:43), but came again into the full possession of the Philistines. It was the last place to which the Philistines carried the Ark of the Covenant before they sent it back to Israel (1 Samuel 5:10 and 1 Samuel 6:1-8).
- Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber at Samaria and was injured. So he sent messengers whom he instructed: "Go inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this injury." (JPS translation)
Its destruction is prophesied in Zephaniah 2:4:
- "Ekron shall be rooted up."
Ekron was excavated during 14 seasons between 1981 and 1996 by a team from the American Schools of Oriental Research and the Israel Exploration Society led by Trude Dothan and Seymour Gitin.
The mound of Tel Miqne has a 10 acre upper tell and a lower tell that ranged from 40 to 65 acres at various times in history.
Excavations in 1996 in the temple complex at Tel Miqne recovered a significant artifact for the corpus of Biblical archaeology, a dedicatory inscription of the seventh-century king of Ekron Achish. The inscription not only securely identifies the site, it gives a brief king-list of rulers of Ekron, fathers to sons: Ya'ir, Ada, Yasid, Padi, 'Akish.
Of more than local interest is the recipient of the inscription, 'Akish's divine "Lady. May she bless him, and guard him, and prolong his days, and bless his land." The name or title of the Lady of Ekron is Ptgyh or Ptnyh. Aaron Demsky (Demsky 1997) reads the name as Ptnyh and relates it to the title Potnia theron(Mistress of the Animals) that was applied to the Great Goddess of the Aegean, in her various local manifestations, which include Mycenaean sites. A much earlier representation of the Lady of Ekron, perhaps thirteenth century BCE offers her left breast.
- C. R. Conder and H. H. Kitchener (1882). The Survey of Western Palestine II. London: The Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund. p. 408.
- William F Albright (1921/1922). "Contributions to the Historical Geography of Palestine". The Annual of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem 2/3: 1–46.
- Seymour Gitin and Trude Dothan (1987). "The Rise and Fall of Ekron of the Philistines: Recent Excavations at an Urban Border Site". The Biblical Archaeologist 50 (4): 197–222. doi:10.2307/3210048. JSTOR 3210048.
- Seymour Gitin (1989). "Tel Miqne-Ekron : A type-site for the inner coastal plain in the Iron Age II period". In Seymour Gitin and William Dever. Recent Excavations in Israel: Studies in Iron Age Archaeology. Eisenbrauns. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-89757-049-7
- James, Peter (1985). Dating Late Iron Age Ekron (Tel Miqne) 138 (2). Palestine Exploration Quarterly. pp. 85–97
- Borowski, Oded (2003). Daily Life in Biblical Times. Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature. pp. 71–72. ISBN 1-58983-042-3.
- Macdonald, Nathan (2008). What Did the Ancient Israelites Eat? Diet in Biblical Times. W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. pp. 23–24. ISBN 0-8028-6298-5.
- T. Dothan and S. Gitin, Tel Miqne (Ekron) Excavations, Spring 1981, Field INE, Iron Age 1-1, Ekron Limited Edition Series 1, 1981
- T. Dothan and S. Gitin, Tel Miqne (Ekron) Excavations, Spring 1982, Field INE, Iron Age 1-1, ELES 2, 1982
- B.M. Gittlen, Tel Miqne-Ekron Excavations, 1984, Field IIISE, ELES 3, 1985
- A.E. Killebrew, Tel Miqne-Ekron Excavations, 1984, Field INE, ELES 4, 1986
- D.B. MacKay, Tel Miqne-Ekron Excavations, 1994 Spring Season, Field IISW: The Olive Oil Industrial Zone of the Late Iron Age II, ELES 5, 1995
- A.E. Killebrew, Tel Miqne-Ekron Excavations, 1986-1987, Field INE, Areas 5,6, 7-The Late Bronze and Iron Ages, ELES 6, 1996
- N. Bierling, Tel Miqne-Ekron Excavations, 1995-1996, Field XNW, Areas 77, 78, 79, 89, 90, 101, 102: Iron Age I, ELES 7, 1998
- Susan Heuck Allen, Trojan Grey Ware at Tel Miqne-Ekron, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 293, pp. 39–51, 1994
- Baruch Brandl, Two Engraved Tridacna Shells from Tel Miqne-Ekron, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 323, pp. 49–62, 2001
- Demsky, Aaron. "The Name of the Goddess of Ekron: A New Reading," Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society vol. 25 (1997) pp. 1–5
- Jan Gunneweg et al., On the Origin of Pottery from Tel Miqne-Ekron, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 264, pp. 3–16, 1986
- Brian Hesse, Animal Use at Tel Miqne-Ekron in the Bronze Age and Iron Age, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 264, pp. 17–27, 1986
- M.W. Meehl, T. Dothan and S. Gitin, Tel Miqne-Ekron Excavations, 1995–1996, Field INE, East Slope: Iron Age I (Early Philistine Period), Final Field Reports 8, 2006
- S.M. Ortiz, S. Gitin and T. Dothan, Tel Miqne-Ekron Excavations, 1994–1996, Fields IVNE/NW (Upper) and VSE/SW: The Iron Age /I Late Philistine Temple Complex 650, Final Field Reports 9, 2006
- W. M. Thomson (2004). The Land And The Book: Or, Biblical Illustrations Drawn From The Manners. Gorgias Press LLC. ISBN 1-59333-130-4
- Robinson, Edward, Eli Smith (1841): Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea: A Journal of Travels in the Year 1838a, Published by Crocker & Brewster, Item notes: v. 3 (see p. 22)
- History of Ekron through archaeology of the Tel Mikne site.
- The Ekron inscription
- Trude Dothan and Seymour Gitin, Ekron of the Philistines BAR 16:01, Jan/Feb 1990
- Tel Miqne-Ekron Excavation and Publication Project