(Ar., Tell el-Fukhar),

a prominent 50-acre tell on the northern bank of the Na῾aman River in Israel, near its debouchment into the Mediterranean Sea at the medieval-modern port of Akko (map reference 1585 × 2585). It was excavated from 1973 to 1989 by Moshe Dothan on behalf of Haifa University, with the participation of the University of Marburg, Germany. Occupation levels from the Middle Bronze Age to the Roman era were revealed.

Tel Akko was evidently a major port in the Middle Bronze Age, heavily defended by a massive terre pisée embankment and glacis connected with a cyclopean wall 3.5 m wide with towers. A large fortress with a nearby elite tomb is associated with those early defenses, all dated by the excavator to the late MB I. To this horizon apparently belong sherds of Cypriot White Painted III–IV pottery, among the earliest such imports known in the Levant.

Early in MB II the embankment and ramparts were augmented, and a three-entryway sea gate, was constructed down along the northwest slopes. In MB III, Akko seems to have declined, and some of the defenses, including the gate, were abandoned. However, a number of tombs belonging to this period have been found, both constructed and pit burials, as well as a rare type of stone-vaulted tomb. These tombs produced ceramic imports (some from Anatolia), weapons, scarabs, and jewelry.

In the Late Bronze Age some of the ramparts were reconstructed. From the first phase, in the early fifteenth century BCE, there is an elaborate tomb of ashlar construction, with Bichrome and Chocolate-on-White pottery. The phase seems to end in a destruction. LB II is witnessed by large, well-planned buildings, as well as numerous Cypriot and Mycenaean imports that point to prosperous trade. The site remained largely unfortified, although, according to a relief at Karnak, Rameses II destroyed a gate at Akko. The final LB levels are characterized by burials found in the abandoned fortress (building A), followed by silos and industrial installations of several types. Late Cypriot and Mycenaean IIIB pottery places this phase in the late thirteenth century BCE.

The beginning of the Iron Age appears to be marked by new settlers, although the remains consist largely of pits and workshops, with flimsy dwellings. Late Mycenaean IIIC: 1b pottery, as well as a scarab of Tawosert, queen of Egypt in about 1207–1200 BCE, places this occupation mainly in the early twelfth century BCE. The excavator suggests that the inhabitants were the Sherden, one group of the Sea Peoples known from the onomasticon of Amenemopet (c. 1000 BCE), who are said to have occupied the coast north of the škl. The eleventh and tenth centuries BCE are poorly attested.

There are more extensive remains from the Iron II period, including residences and several large public buildings. The site was destroyed by fire, probably by the Assyrians in the late eighth century BCE. Only scant remains survive from the Babylonian period, but in the Persian period Akko recovered, probably as a port again and an administrative center. Attic imports and some Phoenician inscriptions belong to this era. The Hellenistic period reveals a well-planned town, preserving the Persian building technique of ashlar construction interspersed with rubble fill: Roman, Byzantine, and Crusader remains have either been severely disturbed or have largely disappeared.

Bibliography

  • Dothan, Moshe, and Diethelm Conrad. “Accho.” Israel Exploration Journal 23 (1973): 257–258; 24 (1974): 276–279; 25 (1975): 163–166; 26 (1976): 207–208; 27 (1977): 241–242; 28 (1978): 264–266; 29 (1979): 227–228; 31 (1981): 110–112; 33 (1983): 113–114; 34 (1984): 189–190.
  • Dothan, Moshe. “A Sign of Tanit from Tel ῾Akko.” Israel Exploration Journal 24 (1974): 44–49.
  • Dothan, Moshe. “῾Akko: Interim Excavation Report, First Season, 1973/4.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 224 (1976): 1–48.
  • Dothan, Moshe. “An Attic Red-Figured Bell-Krater from Tel ῾Akko.” Israel Exploration Journal 29 (1979): 148–151.
  • Dothan, Moshe. “A Phoenician Inscription from ῾Akko.” Israel Exploration Journal 35 (1985): 81–94.
  • Dothan, Moshe. “Archaeological Evidence for Movements of the Early ‘Sea Peoples’ in Canaan.” In Recent Excavations in Israel: Studies in Iron Age Archaeology, edited by Seymour Gitin and William G. Dever, pp. 59–70. Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 49. Winona Lake, Ind., 1989.

William G. Dever