In July–August 2016, a trial excavation was undertaken c. 50 m east of the railway station at ‘Akko (Permit No. A-7749; map ref. 208115–24/759292–358; Fig. 1) prior to construction of an acoustic wall. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the Ministry of Construction and Housing, was conducted by A. Abu Hamid, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘akobi (administration), A. Shapiro (GPS), R. Mishayev and R. Liran (surveying and drafting), K. Kovello-Paran (guidance) and D. Syon (metal detection and numismatics). A. Mokary conducted a preliminary inspection.
Two excavation squares were opened (25 sq m; Figs. 2, 3) c. 130 m southwest of the Egrof Darom neighborhood and c. 700 m north of Tel ‘Akko. The remains of three settlement strata were uncovered from the Persian (Stratum III), the Crusader (Stratum II) and the Ottoman (Stratum I) periods. The pottery from the excavation was lost in a fire at the Israel Antiquities Authority offices in ‘Akko and are therefore not illustrated.
A survey and several excavations were conducted in the past north of Tel ‘Akko, near the excavation area, revealing remains and finds from the Persian to the Ottoman periods (Stern 2011; Abu Hamid 2013 [Fig. 1: A-4932]; Monnickendam-Givon et al. 2017[Fig. 1: B-440/2016]; Abu Hamid 2020 [Fig. 1: A-6619]).
Stratum III (Persian period; late fifth–mid-fourth centuries BCE). One course of a northwest–southeast wall (W105; Figs. 4, 5) was discovered in the northern square. The wall was founded on a layer of clayey soil (L114) and built of two rows of dressed stones: large stones in the southern row, and medium-sized stones in the northern row. Pottery sherds in the accumulations of soil (L111, L119) near the wall included small fragments of jars and Attic vessels from the late Persian period (late fifth–mid-fourth centuries BCE), which date the wall.
Stratum II (Crusader period; twelfth–thirteenth centuries CE). Two northwest–southeast walls were uncovered (W110, W123; Fig. 6). Wall 110 was built of one row of medium-sized dressed stones and was preserved to a height of one course. A floor of small fieldstones (L112) abutted W110 from the south. Wall 123 was built of two rows of medium-sized fieldstones with a core of small fieldstones; it too was preserved to a height of one course.
Stratum I (Ottoman period; seventeenth–eighteenth centuries). A surface built of small fieldstones interspersed with medium-sized fieldstones and bits of limestone (L103, L104; Fig. 6) was uncovered in both excavation squares. In the northern square the surface was built over W105 from Stratum III, while in the southern square it was built over W123 from Stratum II. A small quantity of sherds from the Ottoman period was found within the surface, as well as one coin from the early Ottoman period (IAA 106994). The stone surface may have been part of an agricultural road.
The remains from the late Persian period, however meager, are the northernmost remains from this period found outside the boundaries of Tel ‘Akko. As they expand the known settlement remains from the Persian period north of the mound (Abu Hamid 2013; Monnickendam-Givon et al. 2017), these remains may mark the northern boundary of the settlement of this period. The Crusader-period remains lie outside the boundaries of the city. The remains of a farm of this period were partially uncovered in a 2012 excavation (Abu Hamid 2020) c. 340 m north of the current excavation. It is thus possible that the Stratum II remains are linked to the agricultural activity of this farm. The current excavation area was outside the boundaries of the city in the Ottoman period as well, apparently in an area covered with fields with an early agricultural road running through them.