At Giv’at Yonah (the Hill of Jonah) in Ashdod, which according to various traditions is identified with the burial place of the prophet Jonah, archaeological finds were exposed that verify the existence of life there during the First Temple period, at the time of Jonah.
In a trial archaeological excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority carried out on Giv’at Yonah in Ashdod prior to development work by Hofit - Ashdod Development & Tourism Company, Ltd. remains of massive walls more than 1 m wide were found that are dated to the late 8th century and early 7th century BCE.
In the estimation of the excavation director, Dmitri Egorov, of the Israel Antiquities Authority, these walls constituted the base of a large building from the First Temple period, the time when Jonah the prophet was active, who lived in the eighth century BCE and was famous for having been swallowed by a fish after he refused to “go to Nineveh... and proclaim against it.” (Jonah1:2)
The discovery of this fortress joins other finds from an excavation that took place very close to this site in the 1960s. In an excavation directed by Magen Broshi of the Department of Antiquities, which was carried out before the construction of the Ashdod lighthouse, similar wall remains were found that date to the First Temple period and Persian period. In addition, an Aramaic ostracon was discovered on which is written בעלצד תקלן דשנא (a contemporary translation: Ba’altzad/Ba’altzar - a first name, Taklan - shekels, and Dashna - a present) - apparently meaning that an individual named Ba’altzad contributed a sum of money that was given as a present for a holy place.