Stratum IV
Phase IVb. Meager construction remains and scant ceramic finds belonging to the early phase were exposed in a limited area in Sq W4. These were probably the remains of a foundation for a building exposed in Stratum IVa (below).
Phase IVa. Sections of walls constructed in the Phoenician tradition of ashlar-built pillars with fieldstone construction in between were exposed in Sq W4; collapsed ashlars attributed to this phase were also revealed (Fig. 3). These remains seem to belong to a building of which only a small portion was unearthed. A section of a floor was revealed in Sq W3, and a thick burnt layer was exposed in Sq W7. A layer of sand (thickness 0.5 m) had accumulated above the burnt layer. Four coins, some of which were minted in Tyre and date from the fourth century BCE, were found above the collapsed stones in Sq W4 and at the bottom of the sandy layer. Fragments of pottery vessels from the end of the Persian period were also found in this phase, including mortaria, imported amphorae from the Aegean Sea, Attic ware and Phoenician jars. It seems that this construction phase was destroyed in the fourth century BCE, and judging by the accumulated layer of sand overlying the remains, it is apparent that the area was abandoned after the destruction.
Stratum III
Phase IIId. Sections of walls and floors of a building belonging to the early phase of the layer were exposed in Sqs W3–W5 and W9, above the layer of sand that covered Phase IVa. Some of the Phase IVa walls seems to have been preserved and incorporated into the building of this phase. This construction phase was severed in several places by later pits, the date of which is unknown. Pottery sherds and coins date the stratum to the late fourth – early third centuries BCE.
Phase IIIc. The habitation levels in Sqs W1 and W3–W5 were raised, and remains of walls built in the Phoenician tradition were revealed. Pottery sherds were discovered, and a coin was found in Sq W4. Both the sherds and the coin date the stratum to the third century BCE.
Phase IIIb. Sections of curved walls were exposed in Sq W1. These were probably part of a large kiln that was severely damaged when the tombs of Stratum I and a modern pit were dug. The firebox of a pottery kiln was uncovered in Sq W3 (Fig. 4). A column discovered in the center of the firebox served to support the firing chamber above it, which was not preserved. An accumulation of soil inside the firebox yielded a small amount of pottery sherds dating from the Hellenistic period. The kiln was apparently damaged by the tombs of Stratum I. A plaster floor was exposed in the northern part of the square belongs to the same occupation phase as the kiln. The floor foundation was made of numerous fragments of pottery vessels dating from the Persian and Hellenistic periods, and a coin of Ptolemy I was discovered in it. Sections of floors made of light-orange-colored crushed kurkar and pottery sherds were uncovered in Sqs W5, W7 and W9. Evidence of a fire was exposed on the floor in Sq W5. A wall, preserved to a height of five courses, and a floor were revealed in the eastern part of Sq W8. Four jars whose upper part had been removed were discovered in situ above the floor. Given the ceramic and numismatic finds, this phase was dated to the second century BCE.
Phase IIIa. Sections of hard surfaces consisting of light gray-brown soil mixed with gravel and sherds were exposed in Sqs W1 and W5–W9. It seems that these sections were part of one large surface that sloped to the southwest in an open area. Pottery sherds date this phase to the late second century BCE.
Stratum II
Sections of walls and floors were exposed in Sqs W1, W2, W5, W6 and W10 above the remains of Phase IIIa; they were severely disturbed by the tombs of Stratum I and modern pits. The pottery vessels recovered from the accumulations in this phase date it from the Late Hellenistic period to the Early Roman period (first century BCE).
Stratum I
Tombs dating to the Roman period were discovered in the western part of Sq W10, and tombs that were probably from a later period were found throughout the excavation. The Roman-period graves were covered with several fieldstones and were dug into a layer of sand and kurkar that yielded a small amount of sherds from the Persian and Hellenistic periods. Approximately 30 identical glass bottles and three clay bottles, all intact, which probably constituted part of a funerary offering, were unearthed near one of the graves (Fig. 5). The bottles date from the Early Roman period (first century CE). The graves from the Early Roman period were probably part of a large cemetery from this time, parts of which were discovered in the past (Tepper 2014). The graves from the Ottoman period were shallow, dug into hard clay and were covered with small and medium-sized fieldstones; they were damaged by modern pits. The graves were dug extremely close to each other, especially on a low terrace of the western slope of the tell (Sq W2). Thus, no clear separation could be made between the deceased. The heads of some of the deceased were placed on the western side of some of the graves, as is customary in Muslim burials.
Settlement remains from the Persian, Hellenistic and Early Roman periods were revealed in the excavations. The Persian period was represented by remains of a building that was constructed in the Phoenician tradition and was destroyed toward the end of that period (Stratum IVa; fourth century BCE). The structure was covered with a layer of sand; thus it seems that the area had been abandoned for a brief period. Stratum IVa is parallel to Stratum 4 from Dothan’s excavation on the tell (Dothan 1976). A series of settlement phases dating to the Hellenistic period was exposed above the layer of sand. Evidently, Stratum IIId, the earliest layer in this stratigraphic sequence, dates from the beginning of the Hellenistic period in Israel (late fourth century – early third century BCE), after the conquest by Alexander the Great. Phase IIIc (third century BCE) is ascribed to the time of Ptolemaic rule in ‘Akko and is parallel to Stratum 3 from Dothan’s excavation in Areas A and K on the tell (Dothan 1976). It seems that Phases IIIb and IIIa (second century BCE), the latest in the sequence from the Hellenistic period, date from the time of Seleucid rule and are parallel to Stratum 2 in Dothan’s excavation (Dothan 1976). Meager architectural remains that had been severely damaged were discovered in Stratum II; these probably date to the end of the Hellenistic period and the beginning of the Roman period (second century BCE – first century CE). During the Roman period, the area west of the tell was used as a cemetery (Stratum I). This change occurred at the same time as the city was relocated from the tell to the plain to its the west, where the city is currently situated, a transition that probably took place in the Hellenistic period.