Upon removal of a modern tile floor, a flagstone floor set on soil fill was discovered; this was probably the original floor of the Ottoman structure, dating to the second half of the eighteenth century CE. The northern, southern and western walls are set on foundations that were built in the Ottoman period and incorporated stone arches (Fig. 2) that were meant to prevent settling and reinforce the structure against earthquakes. The building rests against a ruinous Crusader structure in the east, on a wall (W10) in the south and atop collapse in the north (Fig. 3). After removing the second floor and the layer of fill beneath it, another flagstone floor placed on soil fill was discovered (Fig. 4). This floor was dated to the seventeenth or the beginning of the eighteenth centuries CE, based on the ceramic finds and a clay pipe found below it. A later addition, added to the western part of a wall (W11) from the Crusader period, was also ascribed to this phase. These are the remains of a building from the first settlement phase of the Ottoman period in ‘Akko, which probably lasted only a short time and was canceled in the eighteenth century CE, when the later building was founded.
Remains of a building were exposed. It included Wall 11 that extended the entire length of the room in an east–west direction, and Wall 10 to the south, perpendicular to W11 (Fig. 5). The walls were built of medium-sized fieldstones and coated with white plaster.
Soil fill mixed with a large amount of stone collapse and potsherds dating to the Crusader period (thirteenth century CE) were exposed north of W11. Below this layer was a firmly tamped-soil floor, probably a courtyard, in which a coin that most likely dated to the Crusader period was found.
South and east of W11 was a layer of collapse that consisted of many fieldstones and ashlars, probably of a vault that served as a ceiling. An intense burnt layer was discovered above a pale white tamped-earth floor. That layer contained charred wooden beams (Fig. 6), numerous fragments of pottery vessels dating to the thirteenth century CE, fragments of glass vessels and window panes, a belt buckle and numerous nails.
South and west of W11, above a yellowish tamped-earth floor, was a layer of collapse that consisted of fewer stones than in the east, although the dark soil and lumps of gray mud, probably burnt organic material, point to a fierce conflagration that also occurred here. The finds included many nails, stone pounding implements, fragments of glass vessels, numerous pottery vessels that were broken in situ, including a large storage jar, as well as a unique Port St. Symeon Ware glazed ceramic tile and decorated with the image of a man sitting cross-legged and drinking from a glass goblet (Fig. 7).
It is quite likely that a wooden partition, which separated the eastern and western parts, stood in the unexcavated area, left as a bulk, thus explaining the differences between the floors and the presence of so many nails and burnt wood.
Remains of a building from the Crusader period, which was destroyed by intense fire and collapsed, were exposed in the excavation. The artifacts on its floor dated to the thirteenth century CE. Its residents did not return to rebuild the structure and therefore, it seems that the building was demolished in the summer of 1291, when ‘Akko finally fell to the Mamluk conquerors and was destroyed. This archaeological evidence joins the finds from other excavations in the city (ESI 13:22–24, 18:13–141, 20:11*–16*) and clearly illustrate the violent destruction that had taken place.
Following a hiatus of c. 400 years, with the construction of the Old City in the Ottoman period (seventeenth century CE), a new structure was established on the ruins of the Crusader building. After a short period (in the second half of the eighteenth century CE) the later structure that stands today was built on top of it. The alignment of the Ottoman buildings is identical to that of the Crusader edifice and shows that the Ottoman city preserved the outline of the Crusader city to a great extent.