Hellenistic Harbour Remains from Ptolemais/Akko/Acre

By whatever name you recognize it, this is interesting … the Israel Antiquities Authority has issued a press release (and photos) of evidence of a floor (pavement is probably a better word) one metre below the water level in the harbour at Akko, the erstwhile Ptolemais. An excerpt from the press release:

As part of the project, a temporary rampart that serves as both a road and dam was built in the sea. The pool of water that formed between the rampart and the seawall was pumped out so as to create dry conditions for rehabilitating the seawall.

The part of the floor that has been revealed so far extends for a distance of 15 meters and is 4 meters wide (the full dimensions of the floor have not yet been exposed). The floor was built of rectangular, smoothly dressed kurkar stones that were placed atop a foundation course of roughly hewn kurkar stones arranged next to each other as “headers”. In probes that were conducted beneath the floor, numerous fragments of ceramic jars of Aegean provenance (from Rhodes, Kos and elsewhere) were found that were used to transport wine, as well as tableware and cooking vessels. Among the other artifacts recovered were a Greek style bronze arrowhead and bronze coins that are covered with marine encrustations. A preliminary identification of the finds shows that the floor was constructed in the Hellenistic period (end of the third century until the middle of the second century BCE) as part of a national project.
According to Kobi Sharvit, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Archaeology Unit, “The location of the floor, its size, the building style and the building method, which is mainly known from the construction of harbor installations, indicate with a high degree of certainty that the floor has a marine connection suggesting it belongs to a large pier or dockyard structure”.

The floor constitutes an extremely important indicator for studies that deal with changes in sea level and in the location of the shoreline during the Hellenistic period in Akko. This find raises other questions regarding the tectonic changes that occurred in Akko, which is located on a geologic fault, and sea levels.

Not sure how they recognize this as part of a “national project”, unless that comes from text-based evidence vel simm. Whatever the case, here’s a relevant photo:

IAA photo
IAA photo

One thought on “Hellenistic Harbour Remains from Ptolemais/Akko/Acre

  1. The “14” URL for the IAA’s press release is temporary and will be used again for a new release. The release regarding the pier has not yet been posted at the IAA Press Office’s general site for English press releases, http://www.antiquities.org.il/article_Item_eng.asp?sec_id=25&subj_id=240 . If it is not posted to that more-permanent site, access to the seven pictures will be lost unless one has the direct link to them, http://www.antiquities.org.il/images/press/iaa_akko.zip

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