June 2021 –  During the Roman period, the public life of Ashkelon revolved around its basilica (a Roman public building), where its citizens transacted business, met for social and legal matters, and held performances and religious ceremonies,” said Dr. Rachel Bar-Natan, Dr. Saar Ganor and Dr. Fredrico Kobrin, excavation directors from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).  The basilica was founded by Herod the Great, and one historical source suggests that his family came from the city of Ashkelon.