Geoarchaeological evolution of Tel Akko's ancient harbour (Israel)

Christophe Morhange, Matthieu Giaime, Nick Marriner, Amani abu Hamid, Hélène Bruneton, Anasthasie Honnorat, David Kaniewski, Frédéric Magnin, Alexeï V. Porotov, Jérôme Wante, Dov Zviely, Michal Artzy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Archaeological excavations at Tel Akko, northern Israel, located some 1.5 km east of the present ancient city, have revealed imported artefacts and evidence for maritime trade dating from the early part of the 2nd millennium BC onwards (Dothan, 1993). These findings strongly support the existence of a harbour (or anchorage) at the site, although its exact location and associated facilities have yet to be elucidated. Sedimentological and palaeontological analyses, together with 14C dates of cores drilled around Tel Akko, provide new palaeo-environmental information to help to reconstruct shoreline changes during the last ca. 4000 years. First, we propose that the southern facade of the tell constituted the harbour environment, characterised by marine environments until ca. 2800 years BP; the site was protected by a natural rocky breakwater and a sandbar which were silted-up and transformed into a fresh-water marsh. This environment might have been used as an anchorage by the tell's inhabitants before the early-1st millennium BC. Secondly, it seems that the eastern side of the tell was flanked by a sandy coast, that had prograded, offering an open anchorage until the Late Persian/Hellenistic period in the southwestern area of the tell. These results are being cross-checked by geophysical surveys, rescue archaeology and should be validated by further archaeological excavations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)71-81
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
    StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    This work has been carried out with the assistance of the Labex OT-Med (ANR-11-LABEX-0061) and of the A*MIDEX project (n° ANR-11-IDEX-0001-02), funded by the Investissements d'Avenir project funded by the French Government, managed by the French National Research Agency (ANR). Support was also provided by the Institut Universitaire de France, CLIMSORIENT and MISTRALS (Mediterranean Integrated Studies at Regional and Local Scales)-Paleomex-Envimed-GEOISRAEL, and by the Hatter Laboratory, Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies, University of Haifa. We thank all the field technicians and laboratory team members who have worked so diligently over the years to help us acquire the archaeological data. The authors warmly thank the anonymous reviewers and A. Fontana for careful revision of the manuscript.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


    • Akko
    • Ancient harbour
    • Coast
    • Geoarchaeology
    • Geomorphology
    • Israel
    • Levant
    • Mediterranean

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Archaeology
    • Archaeology


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