From July to November 2004 excavations were conducted in the citadel of ‘Akko (The Hospitaller Center; Permit No. A-4122; map ref. NIG 20680/75870; OIG 15680/25870), in the wake of preparations to open the site for the public. The excavation, carried out on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Old ‘Akko Development Company, were directed by E. Stern and H. Abu-‘Uqsa, with the assistance of A. Shapiro (administration and drawing), H. Smithline (photography), E.J. Stern (pottery reading) and D. Syon (numismatics).
The Grand Manir Hall (Fig. 1:1). The Crusader-period floor was exposed. It was a thick layer of plaster mixed with small pieces of charcoal. The ceramic artifacts dated mostly to the Crusader period and the vessels were locally manufactured.
The Eastern Street (Fig. 1:2). The stone and soil fill inside the water reservoir was entirely cleaned out. Most of the ceramic finds recovered from the reservoir, including four intact jugs, dated to the Ottoman period.
East of the Water Reservoir (Fig. 1:3). An area was excavated prior to the installation of an emergency staircase. The top of a wall, oriented east–west and flanked on either side by a flagstone pavement, were discovered. A stone statue of a young boy’s head, adorned with curly hair (Fig. 2) was discovered between the flagstones to the south of the wall. An artistic analysis of the statue suggests it should probably be dated to the Crusader period.
The Southern Street (Fig. 1:4). The excavation of the fill in the western part of the street has continued. The ceramic finds recovered from the fill dated to the Crusader period (thirteenth century CE).
The Templar Tunnel. The exposure of the tunnel’s eastern part continued. The tunnel passed below Khan el-Shuna and continued to the northeast. The mixed ceramic finds from the tunnel mostly dated to the Crusader period, but also included potsherds from the Ottoman period.