During March 2008, a trial excavation was conducted at 28 Lohamē Ha-Geta’ot Street in ‘Akko (Permit No. A-5391; map ref. 207232–48/759212–30), prior to private construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by E. Stern, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration), E. Amos (surveying), A. Shapiro (GPS), E.J. Stern (pottery consultation), H. Tahan-Rosen (drawing) and laborers from Maghar.
The excavation was carried out north of the Old City (Fig. 1), on a lawn next to a residential building. One excavation square was opened and remains of a building and an adjacent plastered water channel, dating to the thirteenth century CE (Crusader period), were discovered.
A layer of heavy hamra soil, at a depth of 0.5 m from the surface, contained collapse of dressed building stones, fragments of pottery vessels from the Crusader period and a few potsherds from the Hellenistic period. Upon removal of the collapse, the top of a wall built of kurkar ashlars (W1) was exposed. It was part of a corner of a building (with W4; Fig. 3) and a narrow corridor was to its north, paved with haphazardly arranged dressed kurkar flagstones that were bounded with a wall (W2; Fig. 4). The walls of the building were constructed from two rows of roughly dressed kurkar and a core of small and medium-sized stones. Stone-built water channel (Fig. 5), oriented east–west, was adjacent to the southern side of the building, running the entire length of W4. The channel (width 0.2 m, depth 0.15 m) was coated with light gray, lime-based hydraulic plaster and was built on a foundation of aggregates composed of small fieldstones and lime-based mortar (width 0.4 m, thickness 5 cm). Numerous fragments of pottery vessels were retrieved from the accumulation in the channel and from its foundation (L103); these were primarily ‘Akko bowls’ dating to the Crusader period (thirteenth century CE).
Potsherds dating to the Crusader period (thirteenth century CE) were recovered from the probes excavated beneath the paved corridor and found above the floors in the building (L102, L106). These fragments were mostly local ware manufactured in ‘Akko, which included ‘Akko bowls’ with a short broad rim (Fig. 6:1, 2), a plate (Fig. 6:3), open and closed cooking vessels (Fig. 6:4, 5), a jug (Fig. 6:6), and a glazed bowl imported from Cyprus (Fig. 6:7).
Based on maps of ‘Akko from the time of Napoleon’s siege (the Jacotin Map), marshes extended across this area. According to maps from the Crusader period and the information we possess today about the boundaries of the Crusader city, the excavation was located outside the limits of the Crusader city. The exposed building was presumably a storeroom or an isolated farmhouse outside the precincts of the city, which is dated to the thirteenth century CE, based on the ceramic evidence. The plain ceramic ware that was meant for preparing and serving food was probably used by the workers on the site.