One square was excavated, exposing a rectangular tomb (1.4 × 2.5 m; Figs. 1, 2) built of eight large ashlar stones (average dimensions: 0.3 × 0.4 × 0.8 m). The tomb’s interior was not excavated. Similarly constructed tombs were excavated in the past in the Western Galilee and were dated to the Roman period (Abu-‘Uqsa and Katsnelson 1999
; Lerer 2011
Stone Items. The square ashlar stone (0.40 × 0.77 × 0.77 m) was meticulously dressed and had a hewn depression in its center (upper diam. 0.39 m, depth 0.2 m; Fig. 3). The purpose of the stone is unclear. The large Corinthian capital (diam. 0.95 m, height 0.39 m; Figs. 4, 5) seems to have been discovered ex situ, since no other architectural remains were exposed along with it. To date, no similar capitals have been discovered in ‘Akko or in its immediate vicinity. The capital is made of limestone. It has three equidistant grooves (length 8 cm, width 3 cm) hewn in the perimeter of its upper surface that were used to connect it to another element. The capital is decorated with two rows of acanthus leaves and a colliculus. The acanthus leaves in the outer row are spread for their width along the bottom of the capital; their main veins are clearly emphasized, and they end at the bottom in an inverted V. Each leaf has eight leaflets, four on either side. The veins of the leaflets are deep curled grooves; they do not sprout directly from the stalk but rather from a spot next to it. The leaflets split at their ends into two curved bracts that form a kind of eye which gives the edges of the leaf an appearance of curly fringes. The beginning of a slightly angled colliculus resembling a fluted column is fashioned above and behind each of the leaves in the outer row. The acanthus leaves on the inner row are narrow and long and their veins extend as far as the bottom of the capital. They are only slightly higher than the outer row of leaves. The upper edge of each of the leaves in both rows curls forward the front. This decoration, composed of two rows of leaves, gives the capital a compact appearance.
A decoration of fluted column-like colliculi
appears on capitals from ‘Iraq al-Amir, Jericho, Jason’s Tomb in Jerusalem and Kypros (Fischer 1979
:19–35, Pls. 1:1, 2, 4, 5; 2:7–10) dating to the Hellenistic period (second–first centuries BCE). This decoration also occurs on Herodian capitals from Samaria and Masada, dating to the mid-first century CE (Fischer 1979
: Pls. 2:11, 12; 3:14; Foerster 1995
:104–109). The leaf pattern, particularly the outer row leaves that have curled bracts that are not pointed, resembles the decoration on a capital from Sebastia that dates to the mid-first century BCE (Fischer 1979
:39–41, Pl. 2:10), and to some extent to the Herodian capitals from Masada.
The outer row of leaves sprouts from the bottom, leveled surface of the capital, indicating that this is the bottom end of the capital. The fluted column-like colliculi
end in a straight line at the upper surface of the capital. They appear to have continued into another element that was placed above the capital and matched it. Corinthian capitals composed of two separate stone elements with corresponding decorations are known from the Herodian buildings at Masada, Sebastia, Herodium and Kypros. The capitals and architectural elements at these sites were cut from local stone, the quality of which was sometimes inferior to that of the kurkar
on the shore at Caesarea or the stone of the Samra formation from the Masada region. According to Foerster, the Corinthian capitals at Masada were prepared in separate parts due to economic considerations, as this technique was particularly suited for the poor-quality indigenous stone (Foerster 1995
:108–109; Peleg 2006
:330). Another reason the architectural elements were constructed in parts is that the dimensions of the capitals in the first century BCE increased, as in the case of a massive capital from Sebastia measuring 1.2 m in diameter (Fischer 1979
Petrographic Examination of the Stone Items. The examination was done in order to determine whether the stone items were locally made of imported. The capital is made of porous white limestone rock containing fossil fragments and small concentrations of flint (3–5 cm). Circular chisel marks made with a serrated tool were clearly visible on the flat, upper surface of the capital.
The square stone is also made of porous white limestone rock containing fossil fragments. The sides of the stone were more carefully dressed than its upper surface or the inside of the depression. These differences in stone dressing probably stem from different phases in processing the stone or may have remained from the original use of the stone.
A binocular microscopic examination of petrographic slides sampled from the two items revealed similar phenomena, suggesting that the two were derived from the same rock source. Although there is no apparent stylistic link between the two elements, they were cut from stone of similar composition, and can therefore be ascribed to the same site. The rock from which the items were hewn—bioclastic limestone containing mainly Rudistacea fragments—is common to northern coastal Israel, from Mount Carmel to Rosh Ha-Niqra. It thus seems that the raw material used to produce these items originated in Israel and was not imported from afar.
The Corinthian capital is dated to the Herodian period on the basis of an architectural-artistic analysis. It was probably found ex situ, and may even have been brought to the site in the modern era. A petrographic examination of the capital indicates that it is made of a rock found in the region stretching from Mount Carmel to Rosh Ha-Niqra. This capital might be the first evidence we have of a magnificent temple from the Herodian period that has yet to be revealed in the north of the country.