The excavation was located c. 500 m northwest of Tel ‘Akko. Eleven excavation areas were opened (A–H, K–M; Fig. 2; Area G not on map), in eight of which archaeological remains were exposed (A, B, D–F, K–M). The excavation uncovered two Roman-period built tombs, a built installation, a section of a Crusader wall and several earth and stone fill layers containing finds— mostly pottery and glass fragments dating from the Hellenistic to the Crusader periods. Unfortunately, a considerable amount of the excavation data was destroyed in a fire in the Israel Antiquities Authority’s offices in ‘Akko, and is therefore missing from this report.

Previous excavations conducted in 2002 and 2003 to the east and south of the current excavation area uncovered a road, tombs and industrial installations dating from the Roman period (Finkielsztejn 2007).

Area A (Fig. 3). Three strata were exposed. The earliest stratum (L17) yielded much pottery from the Hellenistic and Early Roman periods. This stratum was overlain by a stone layer (L11, L12) that contained glass and pottery sherds dated to the Late Byzantine and Early Islamic periods. The latest stratum (L18) comprised a mixture of clayey soil and sand containing Crusader pottery.
Area B (Fig. 3). Two strata were exposed. In the earlier stratum, a tomb (L28) was covered with three flat stone slabs (0.9 × 1.5 m). Small stones were inserted in between the slabs to wedge the covering (Fig. 4). Although the tomb was not excavated, it can be dated by its construction technique which is similar to that of Roman-period tombs previously uncovered in the nearby vicinity (Abu Hamid 2010). The tomb was dug into a layer of sandy soil that yielded a few Hellenistic and Roman potsherds. The later stratum (L21, L22) contained a fill of clayey soil (depth 1.5 m) that covered over the tomb, yielding pottery from the Roman, Byzantine and Crusader periods, and coins and glass-production waste from the Byzantine period.
Area D. Underlying a layer of dark clayey soil, a surface of small stones—part of a natural deposit—contained small worn pottery sherds from the Late Hellenistic and Early Roman periods (no plan; sherds not drawn).
Area E (Fig. 5). Fills containing Hellenistic and Roman finds were excavated. The lower fill layer consisted of clean sand covered by a mixture of sand and clay (L51, L52) that contained glass-production debris dating from the end of the Hellenistic or the Early Roman period. The upper fill layer was composed of a mixture of clayey soil and fieldstones (L50); it was also dated by its glass and ceramic finds to the Late Hellenistic and Early Roman periods.
Area F (Fig. 5). Two strata contained Hellenistic and Roman finds. The earlier stratum included a thick deposit of small kurkar stones (L63) that yielded Hellenistic pottery and glass, faunal skeletal remains (Marom, below) and many shells (Ktalav, below). The later strata comprised an installation built of fieldstones (L61, L62), constructed in a layer of clayey soil mixed with sand. The pottery and glass from this layer dates from the Late Hellenistic and Early Roman periods.
Area K (Fig. 6). A tomb covered with three stone slabs (0.75 × 1.50 m) was overlain by a layer of dark clayey soil; a round hole (diam. 0.2 m) was drilled in one slab (Fig. 7). The tomb was not excavated but, as the tomb in Area B, it should probably be dated to the Roman period based on its construction technique.
Area L. A mixture of sand and clayey soil yielded Byzantine glass fragments with no associated architectural remains.
Area M (Fig. 8). A section of a wall (W10) exposed beneath a layer of dark clayey soil was dated by the adjacent pottery sherds to the Crusader period. Collapsed stones were found directly beside the wall’s western face. An earth fill (L1303) underlying the wall yielded three coins, one Late Hellenistic and two Late Byzantine (Syon, below; Coin Nos. 1, 4, 5), as well as glass fragments from the Late Hellenistic and Early Roman periods.
Pottery. The excavation yielded pottery from the Hellenistic, Early Roman, Byzantine, Early Islamic and Crusader periods. The Hellenistic pottery consists of local and imported bowls (Fig. 9), casseroles (Fig. 10), cooking pots (Fig. 11:1–3), jars (Fig. 11:4–8) and an imported amphora (Fig. 11:9). The Early Roman pottery includes local and imported bowls (Fig. 12:1–5), basin (Fig. 12:6), cooking pots (Fig. 12:7, 8), jars (Fig. 12:9–12) and imported amphorae (Fig. 12:13–15). The Byzantine pottery consists of imported bowls (Fig. 13:1–4), and the Early Islamic period is represented by a casserole (Fig. 13:5) and basins (Fig. 13:6, 7) and a jar (Fig. 13:8). The Crusader pottery comprises imported bowls (Fig. 14:1–4), a cooking pot (Fig. 14:5) and an imported amphora (Fig. 14:6).
Glass Finds
Yael Gorin-Rosen
The glass baskets collected in the excavation contained 51 vessels and identifiable objects representing an extremely wide chronological range from the Hellenistic period to the Middle Ages. Most of the pieces were identified and dated, despite their small size and poorly preserved condition. The important glass assemblage dates from the Late Hellenistic and Early Roman periods (Fig. 15). The excavation also yielded some glass from the Byzantine period (see below), whilst glass finds from other periods are briefly mentioned in the description of the excavation above. Most of the illustrated finds, including the glass-production debris, came from beneath the built installation in Area F (Fig. 15:1–6, 8–11, 13). An Early Roman bowl from Area E (Fig. 15:7) and a debris fragment from Area B (Fig. 15:12) are also illustrated.
Late Hellenistic and Early Roman Periods. The earliest glass vessels are mold-made and most are decorated with horizontal linear cuts on their inner or outer wall (Fig. 15:1–5), or with protruding ribs on the outer wall (Fig. 15:6, 7). Bowl No. 1 is made of colorless glass decorated with two lines cut on the inner wall. Bowl No. 2 is made of amber-colored glass and has a thick rim, decorated below the rim on the inner wall with a horizontal cut line, with a thinner line cut higher up on the outer wall. Bowls with cut lines on both the interior and the exterior wall are rarer than those decorated only on the interior. Bowls Nos. 3–5 belong to the ‘linear-cut bowl’ type that is common at many sites in the late first century BCE and early first century CE (Gorin-Rosen and Katsnelson 2015:127–128, Fig. 6.8, and see discussion and references therein). Bowls Nos. 3 and 4 were found together; both are shallow and have a narrow line cut near the rim on the inner wall. Bowl No. 3 is made of amber glass and Bowl No. 4 is thicker and made of colorless glass. Bowl No. 5 is shallow with a line cut below the rim; its unique purplish color and colorless patch on the edge of the rim are distinctive. Flaws of this type are typical of both purple and colorless glass, which share the same chemical composition, since redox inhomogeneity in the kiln often results in mottled glass, as demonstrated by this bowl.
Bowls Nos. 6 and 7 represent another group of mold-made bowls, of the ‘pillar-molded bowl’ type, which is characteristic of the second half of the first century BCE and the early first century CE. The bowls are decorated with protruding ribs on the outer wall, and incised lines on the inner wall, one below the rim and two near the base. The glass of Bowl No. 6 is a very pale bluish green. Bowl No. 7 body fragment has three ribs and two lines on the inner wall and is made of greenish blue, almost colorless glass. Similar bowls are found throughout the Roman Empire, and are widely distributed around the country, for example, at Caesarea (Gorin-Rosen and Katsnelson 2015:120–122, Fig. 4.6: CG24–CG28, and see discussion and references therein).
A blown-glass bowl (Fig. 15:8) is made of pale bluish green glass that is mold-blown with delicate, shallow ribs fanning out from the base to the outer wall. A free-blown cup fragment (Fig. 15:9) found with the cast bowls in Area F is made of amber glass; the rim is cut and polished, and the outer wall has polishing marks and horizontal lines cut below the rim. A similar cup from the ‘Akko courthouse excavations is dated to the Early Roman period (Katsnelson 2016:76, Fig. 3.6:31).
A polished finger ring (Fig. 15:10) made of pale bluish-greenish glass has a flat, well-polished bezel. The ring shank was also probably well-polished, but only the ends near the bezel were preserved. Cast and polished finger rings are known from the Hellenistic and Early Roman periods, but the bezel is often thick and concave to attach another piece of glass or a stone (Spaer 2001:209, Cat. nos. 486, 487, Pl. 37: 486, 487); the flat bezel of this ring is unusual.
Byzantine Period. The following vessels (not illustrated) are representative of this period: bowls with an out-folded rim that may belong to lamps (Area A); wine goblets (Area L); a late oil-lamp type with a solid beaded stem (L13; Area A) and a conical oil-lamp type (Area L); and bottles decorated with thin trails (L13; Area A) and a wavy trail (L11). Similar bowls, wine goblets and lamps found at the ‘Akko courthouse site are dated to the Byzantine–Early Islamic periods (Katsnelson 2016:82–84, Fig. 3.9:53–60, and see references therein). A vessel with pinched decoration (L11) also dates from this period. Three glass tesserae were recovered: one is small and blue (L15; Area A) and the two others are made of opaque turquoise green glass (L1302, L1302; Area M).
Glass-Production Waste. The different kinds of industrial waste include a lump of bluish raw glass (Fig. 15:11), a lump made of hot glass removed from the kiln and cooled (Fig. 15:12) and a fragment of heat-distorted glass (Fig. 15:13). Mixed kiln waste (L15, L62; Areas A, F, respectively), a heat-distorted glass fragment (L12; Area A), a crumbling glass chunk (L51; Area E) and a chunk of porous glass waste (L14; Area A) were also found. Most of the glass-production waste was accompanied by Early Roman vessel fragments, this debris providing important data about the ancient glass industry in the ‘Akko region, which is known primarily from historical sources.
The earliest strata in Area A yielded fragments of Early Roman glassware, but most of the material in this area dates from the Byzantine period. The fill in Area B yielded Byzantine glassware and industrial waste. The glass finds from Area E date from the Early Roman and the Byzantine periods. The finds in Area F include Early Roman vessels and industrial waste. Area L contained Byzantine and medieval glassware. The glass finds from Area M date from the Early Roman and Byzantine periods.
The Coins
Danny Syon
Nine coins were recovered from the excavation, eight of which were at least partially identified (Table 1). All the coins are made of bronze apart from Coin No. 7, which is made of billon. Noteworthy is a tiny nummus coin that was probably minted in Carthage (Coin No. 4).
Table 1. The coins from the excavation
Minting Authority
City minting?
Second century BCE
‘Akko (?)
Late Roman
378–383 CE
Late Roman or Byzantine
Fifth–sixth centuries CE
Justinian I
552–557 CE
Carthage (?)
Justinian II
577/8 CE
Constantinople (?)
650–670 CE
Henry II, III or IV (1039–1125 CE)
Lucca (Italy)
Nur ad-Din Mahmud (1146–1173 CE)
Faunal Skeletal Remains
Nimrod Marom
The excavation retrieved a few animal bones from Hellenistic accumulation layers (Table 1). The assemblage was identified using the comparative collection of the archaeozoological laboratory of the University of Haifa as reference. The methodology and quantitative data are presented in full in the excavation file. The species in the assemblage are horse (Equus caballus) and donkey (Equus asinus), sheep/goat (two sheep bones were identified; Ovis aries), cattle (Bos taurus), pig (Sus scrofa), camel (Camelus dromedarius) and bear (Ursus arctos). The bones exhibit no signs of burning or butchering and most were probably broken when dry, rather than as a result of human activity. The taphonomic observations and composition of the species, including many beasts of burden, probably represent the remnants of animal carcasses dumped on the outskirts of the city rather than kitchen waste. Since the only product that can be extracted from a bear carcass is the skin, the bear bone may be related to waste from leather processing, a craft that is traditionally practiced outside the settlement due to the bad odors associated with it.
Table 1. Breakdown of animal bones
Skeletal part
Phalanx 1
Phalanx 2
Inbar Ktalav
The excavation yielded shells that were handpicked without sifting, the numbers referring to the number of identified specimens (NISP). Forty-five specimens were identified by species. All the specimens were found together in Area F (L63, Basket 617; Fig. 16) in a layer of sand mixed with clayey soil that also contained animal bones and Late Hellenistic pottery and glass.
All 45 specimens are from the Mediterranean Sea. Fifteen are purple dye-murex (Bolinus brandaris) and 30 are banded dye-murex (Hexaplex trunculus). The shells show no signs of wear and the mollusks were probably freshly collected from the sea. Forty-two specimens were whole; three of the banded dye-murex shells had a small break in the spire.
Fresh murex mollusks have a number of uses, especially in purple-dye production. Once the dye gland has been extracted, the remaining flesh can be eaten. Unbroken empty shells could be used for decoration, while crushed shells could be used as filling material in building work. No drill holes were detected in the shell assemblage—a feature characteristic of mollusks kept in pools without being fed, for dye production or food consumption. Furthermore, larger quantities of shells are required in order to prove the existence of a dye-production industry, as well as the equipment required to produce the dye: stone tools to crush the shells and large vats in which to boil the dye glands, dye marks, and evidence of bellows. Although the mollusks were found in an industrial context, there is insufficient evidence to substantiate the existence of a purple dye-production industry. The finds may indicate the use of the murex for food, or for some other industrial process.
Summary. The excavation revealed that the area was used for industrial purposes, such as leather, glass and food processing, in the Late Hellenistic period, and for burial in the Roman period. Since industrial activities and burials took place outside the residential area, this area was probably on the outskirts of the urban area of ‘Akko-Ptolemais in these periods. The glass-production waste suggests that the area remained beyond the residential zone in the Byzantine period. The function and context of the Crusader wall was not clarified.