In September 2017, a trial excavation was conducted east of Tel ‘Akko (Permit No. A-8104; map ref. 208975–87/758250–55; Fig. 1), prior to the construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the Efgad Company, was directed by R. Abu Raya, with the assistance of Y. Yaakobi and B. Zidan (administration), A. Shapiro (GPS, surveying), I.E. Delerson (drafting), G. Finkielsztejn (amphorae) and laborers from Majd el-Krum.
The excavated area (c. 55 sq m; Figs. 2–4) lies approximately 300 m east of Tel ‘Akko. Two previous excavations conducted nearby uncovered wall sections and habitation levels dating from the Persian and Early Hellenistic periods (Abu Raya 2017 [Fig. 1: A-7540]; Lerer 2021 [Fig. 1: A-7387]).
The mechanical removal of a recent accumulation and of a layer of heavy alluvial soil that was devoid of finds (thickness 0.8 m) revealed an accumulation of reddish-brown clay (L102–L104; thickness 0.4 m) that yielded rich finds of pottery from the Hellenistic period. At the western end of the area, the soil accumulation contained five small fieldstones; four of them were arranged in a row and may have been part of the foundation of a wall that was not preserved.
The ceramic finds date from the Hellenistic period (third century BCE) and include many imported vessels as well as local ware. The imported vessels include two bowl bases, one painted black and the other belonging to a fish bowl (Fig. 5:1, 2), as well as rims, handles and bases of imported amphorae; 17 diagnostic fragments of Rhodian amphorae, including a flat handle bearing a round seal stamp (Fig. 6:1), four flat handles, each bearing a rectangular seal stamp (Fig. 6:2–5) and a base (Fig. 6:6), typical of third-century BCE Rhodian amphora assemblages; and two, similarly dated, double amphorae handles imported from Kos (Fig. 6:7). The local ware includes cooking pots (Fig. 5:3–5), a jar (Fig. 5:6) and two spindle-shaped juglets (Fig. 5:7, 8). The upper surface of the accumulation yielded part of the rim belonging to a clay coffin (Fig. 5:9) imported from Cyprus, of a type common at burial sites in the western Galilee from the Middle Roman period (second century CE).