The excavation finds indicate that the builders of the Ottoman structure were aware of the collapsed remains and walls dating to the Crusader period. They leveled the burnt layer and ruins from the Crusader period which abutted the Crusader structure from the outside (W3, W5), and deposited sand fill (thickness 0.2–0.3 m; Fig. 7), over them in order to prepare the ground for the construction of the building. The broad foundation course of W1 was set on this layer of fill, and a narrower foundation wall was built above it. Once the walls of the building were constructed, the structure was filled to a height of c. 1 m above the base of the foundation with sandy soil mixed with pieces of building stones that served as a bedding for the floor of the building.
Edna J. Stern
The excavation yielded pottery vessels and ceramic tiles from the Crusader and Ottoman periods.
The pottery from the Crusader period found in Fills 2 and 4 is identical to that found in previous excavations in ‘Akko (Stern 2012
). Among the vessels discovered was a fragment of a base of a bowl decorated with incising that probably depicted the bottom part of an aquatic bird. The provenance for such vessels was Greece, and they date to the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries CE (Fig. 8:1; Stern 2012
:65–69, Type GR.GL.4, Pl. 4.48:13, 14). Although similarly decorated vessels are common in Greece, this is a fairly rare find in ‘Akko. Several fragments of Port St. Symeon ceramic tiles, with a monochrome glaze (Fig. 8:2) or bearing an incised decoration and splashes of green or brown glaze (Fig. 8:3, 4), were also found. A few tiles of this type were revealed in several excavations in ‘Akko, usually in domestic architecture (Stern 2010
: Fig. 7; Stern 2012: 56–57, Type NSY.GL.4, Pl. 4.39:5–9), but also in churches, such as the Church of St. John, where they were integrated in the floor of the church (Stern 2007
), and the cellar of the Church of St. Andreas, near the current excavation (License No. G-30/1995).
Most of the pottery found in the excavation dates from the Ottoman period; much of it is from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, although some finds are ascribed to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries CE. Just about all of the pottery vessels from this period were not glazed, and were of local production, characteristic of ‘Akko. The glazed tableware found in the excavation was imported from Mediterranean countries and indicate that ‘Akko was a center of international commerce during the Ottoman period. These vessels can be divided into those that were imported from Europe and those that came from within the Ottoman Empire.
Pottery Imported from Europe
(Fig. 9). Montelupo Maiolica Ware (Fig. 9:1) is represented by a bowl made of buff fabric with an everted rim; it is decorated with blue, green and brown tin-glazed painting applied to a white background. Although only a very small fragment of the bowl was found, the decoration depicted on it is probably verde fogilia
: oak leaves outlined in dark brown with a green filling and turquoise stripes between the leaves. The bowl was made in the seventeenth century CE in the city of Montelupo, near Pisa (Berti 2008
: 351–352, Fig. 61) or in another center of Maiolica production in Tuscany.
Painted vessels from Grottaglie (Fig. 9:2) are represented by a bowl made of buff fabric with a ledge rim, decorated with brown-and turquoise-tin glaze painted on a white background. The bowl was manufactured in the city of Grottaglie in southern Italy or in Corfu, where imitations of the original type were produced from the late eighteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century CE (Vroom 2005
Imitations of Chinese porcelain (Fig. 9:3–5) are represented by three bowls. These types were produced throughout the nineteenth century, mainly in England, but also in France, Germany and the Netherlands, as imitation of Chinese porcelain that is decorated with blue painted patterns on a white background. The vessels that were discovered were made of very light, almost white colored clay, but there are also those that are made of real porcelain. The vessels are adorned with a variety of decorations. Bowl 3 has a ledge rim and, considering its decoration, it belongs to the group known as Transfer-Printed Ware. The decorative pattern was printed on the body of the vessel, to which a transparent glaze was applied. Quite possibly, the fragment found in ‘Akko belongs to the English decorative type known as Willow Pattern (Vroom 2005
:188–189). Bowl 4 is shallow and has a striped decoration running along it ledge rim. This is a simple, common motif, but the bowl’s place of manufacture is unknown. Bowl 5 is also shallow and has a broad ledge rim. Based on its decoration, the bowl belongs to the type known as Brush Stroke Flow Blue. The decorative pattern is floral and is applied with a brush using cobalt-blue paint that runs into the white background (Brownell 2010
Pottery Vessels Imported from Within the Ottoman Empire
(Fig. 10). Çanakkale Ware (Fig. 10:1) is represented by a bowl decorated with brown manganese paint applied to white glaze. This vessel was produced in the city of Çanakkale in the Dardanelles region in western Turkey, and its decoration is typical of the nineteenth century CE (Vroom 2005
:180–183). A Slip-Painted bowl, decorated with a slip of painted vertical stripes (Fig. 10:2), was produced in Didymoiteicho, Thrace in northern Greece, in one of the other production centers in Thrace or in northwestern Turkey. Bowls of this type date from the first half of the twentieth century CE (Vroom 2005
Several clay tobacco pipes (Fig. 10:3, 4) and a number of Nargile
bowls that were found are similar to those discovered in ‘Akko in the past (Shapiro 2010
). Pipe 3 is made of light gray clay and dates to the late seventeenth century CE. Pipe 4 is slipped red and dates from the end of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century CE.
These finds enrich the assemblage of the types of imported vessels from the Crusader and Ottoman periods that was discovered in ‘Akko. The St. Symeon Port ceramic tiles indicate the widespread use of this kind of tile in ‘Akko in a variety of structures. The imported pottery vessels are significant because they allow a much more precise dating than the plain, locally produced pottery types, which had a very long life span during the Ottoman period. Thus, for example, the glazed bowl from Montelupo dates to the period when international trade through the port of ‘Akko was revived in the seventeenth century CE, while Pipe 3 dates to the end of that century. These vessels, and like later ones, undoubtedly reflect the activity of European merchants in ‘Akko and the international maritime trade relations of ‘Akko throughout the Ottoman period and during the British Mandate in Israel.