During February–March 2002, trial excavations and antiquities inspections were conducted at the citadel in ‘Akko (Permit No. A-3572*), in the wake of infrastructure works. The excavations, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Old ‘Akko Development Company and the Ministry of Tourism, were directed by E. Stern, with the assistance of A. Thatcher (area supervision and Hellenistic pottery), V. Essman (surveying), A. Shapiro (registration), H. Smithline (photography), L. Porat (pottery restoration), H. Tahan (pottery drawing), L. Kupershmidt (metallurgical laboratory), E.J. Stern (Crusader pottery), D. Syon (numismatics), Y. Gorin-Rosen (glass), J. Scheffer and R. Kislev (conservation, documentation and architecture), Y. Carmel (conservation) and A. Zazolinsky and C. Cohen (engineering).
Dining Hall. During the course of infrastructure works, the hall’s modern concrete floor, which had been poured in the 1970s, was removed. A trench was excavated (width 1 m, depth 1 m) along the southern and western walls for the purpose of installing a pipe. The soil fill in the trench contained fragments of marble architectural elements, mixed potsherds from the Hellenistic until the Crusader periods and a ruinous section of an Ottoman drainage channel. It should be noted that the fill had previously been excavated during the Ottoman period and again in the 1970s.
The Hall of Pillars. Two pits (3 × 3 m) were excavated around the Crusader pillars, which supported the ceiling of the hall, to reinforce them. The pits were dug in the Crusader foundation trenches of the pillars. The Crusaders built a broad square foundation of fieldstones and bonding material (height 1.5 m) on bedrock. The pillar visible above the floor level was built of well-dressed ashlar stones and set on this foundation. Mixed potsherds, dating from the Hellenistic to the Crusader periods, were recovered from the soil fill.
The Southern Street. A level of fill, which contained numerous potsherds from the Crusader period and comprised Crusader debris from the thirteenth century CE (over 3 m high), was excavated in the eastern part of the street, in a passage created between the Hospitaller center and the Turkish hamam to the south.
The Turkish Hamam (Bathhouse). A sounding (2 × 2 m) was excavated in the bathhouse, when the main open entrance plaza was being upgraded. Several human bones that dated to the Ottoman period were found at a depth of 0.5 m. From that point to a depth of 6 m was a layer of soil fill, stone collapse, fragments of architectural elements and potsherds that dated from the Hellenistic to the Ottoman periods.
A Crusader wall, built of ashlar stones and oriented north–south (depth 3.8–5.5 m), was discovered, as well as Crusader pottery from the thirteenth century CE.
The excavation was suspended due to safety precautions.