In November and December 2015, a salvage excavation was conducted at the corner of Remez and Herzl Streets in ‘Akko (Permit No. A-7531; map ref. 207986–8050/759207–94; Fig. 1), prior to the construction of a residential building. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by J. Gosker (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration), M. Kahan (surveying), Y. Lerer (metal detection), N. Getzov (pottery consultation), D. Syon (numismatics), K. Covello-Paran (scientific guidance), Z. Horowitz and laborers from Majd al-Krum.
The excavation, located about 1 km northeast of the old city of ‘Akko, yielded the remains of a road and a well dating from the Early Roman period. Previous excavations, conducted about 500 m to the south, exposed graves and the remains of a road dating from the Roman period (Finkielsztejn 2007
[Fig. 1: A-3749]; Tepper 2014
[Fig. 1: A-4043]).
Two excavation areas (A, B; Fig. 2) were opened where remains were identified in preliminary inspections. An additional trench was excavated in area B to verify the nature of the remains in that area.
Area A. The excavation exposed two walls (W106, W109; Fig. 3) forming a corner set on a square foundation (L108; 1.5 × 1.6 m, height 0.5 m). The foundation was built of large unhewn stones, with black earth and pottery between them. The foundation stones were sunk into a layer of natural sand of the type common in ‘Akko; their base lay below the current water table (Fig. 3). The walls survived to a height of three courses of roughly hewn stones of various sizes set in two rows. The stones of the interior face of the wall were well aligned, whereas those on the exterior face were not (Figs. 3, 4). The structure seems to have been purposely sunk into the ground, with an exposed interior face and an outer face which was not—perhaps a small well, of which only the eastern corner survived. The construction of the well is dated to the Early Roman period, based on the pottery finds (not illustrated) retrieved from between the foundation stones, which included Eastern Terra Sigillata bowls and Kefar Hananya Form 4A cooking pots. Due to the poor state of preservation of the upper part of the well, its latest date of use remains unknown.
Area B (Fig. 5). Fragmentary remains of a road running in a north–south direction were exposed along the eastern perimeter of the excavated area: a layer of small stones (L111) covering a layer of medium-sized stones (L112). A trench excavated to the north of Area B yielded a north–south wall (W105; Fig. 6) built of roughly hewn stones. Abutting the wall on the west were two similar superimposed layers: a layer of small stones, apparently the continuation of L111, and a layer of medium-sized stones, probably the continuation of L112 (Fig. 2: Section 1–1), which was reached on the last day of the excavation but not excavated. It thus seems that W105 formed the eastern curb wall of the road; the two layers of stones are apparently the remains of the roadbed.
These remains are probably part of the Imperial Roman road that led from ‘Akko-Ptolemais to Antioch, which has been dated by scholars to 56 CE (Avi-Yonah 1946
; Mayer 1986
). Segments of this road were found 6 km to the north, in Shave Z
iyyon (Lerer 2015
) and, as stated above, in ‘Akko, about 500 m south of the excavation (Finkielsztejn 2007
). The proximity of the well to the road suggests that it served the travelers and their animals. The absence of further architectural remains and the rather scanty pottery assemblage strengthen this interpretation. The location of the road, about 500 m north of an already known section of the same road, corroborates our knowledge of the route of the Imperial ‘Akko-Ptolemais–Antioch road from the Early Roman period.
Avi-Yonah M. 1946. Newly Discovered Latin and Greek Inscriptions. QDAP
Finkielsztejn G. 2007. ‘Akko, Remez Street. HA-ESI 119
Mayer J. 1986. The Roman Road in the Western Galilee. In M. Yedayah ed. The Western Galilee Antiquities: Collected Essays. Tel Aviv. Pp. 364–372 (Hebrew).