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Akko Harbor *

“The Evolution of Akko Harbor and its Mediterranean Maritime Trade Links”

Authors: Ehud Galili, Baruch Rosen, Dov Zviely, Na’ama Silberstein, and Gerald Finkielsztejn

Journal of  Island & Coastal Archaeology


The Templar Tunnel, Akko Photo: Tango7174
The Templar Tunnel, Akko
Photo: Tango7174

Abstract – Akko Harbor

Archaeological investigations carried out in Akko Harbor from 1992 to 2004 are described and discussed, providing information on its long history. During the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Persian periods, maritime activity in Akko relied on a natural anchorage. Sediments and artifacts suggest that the harbor was first constructed during the Hellenistic period and flourished since then. In the Byzantine period,the southern breakwater was in ruins and vessels anchored in the open sea. The exact location of the Early Islamic and Crusader harbors is unknown, but during the Crusades large vessels anchored in the open sea. The remnants of a fifteenth-century AD wooden pier indicate that maritime activity continued after the Crusader’s defeat. These changes are illustrated through the discussion of stratigraphy, the distribution of archaeological remains, and tectonic and sea-level considerations.

Acre's southern sea wall Photo: Oren Rozen - Akko Harbor
Acre’s southern sea wall
Photo: Oren Roze



Pisan Harbor, Acre Photo: Israel by Dainis Matisons - Akko Harbor
Pisan Harbor, Acre
Photo: Israel by Dainis Matisons

History of the Port of Akko

Colonia Claudii Cæsaris, was established as a Roman colonia. The port enlarged by the Romans flourished for six centuries even as a Christian center. The early Muslim conquest brought a revival to the town of Acre/Akko. It continued to serve as the main port of Palestine through the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates. Fortifications were built by the autonomous Emir Ibn Tulun of Egypt, who annexed the city in the 870s. These fortifications provided safety for merchant ships in the port of Acre.  The Crusaders made the town their chief port in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Acre became the main seaport of the eastern Mediterranean throughout Crusader rule into the 13th century. The old city, where the port and fortified city were located, protrudes from the coastline, exposing a narrow piece of land to the sea. This maximized its efficiency as a port. The narrow entrance to this protrusion served as a natural defense to the city. [Wikipedia]


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