Refining Late-Holocene environmental changes of the Akko coastal plain and its impacts on the settlement and anchorage patterns of Tel Akko (Israel)

Matthieu Giaime, Michal Artzy, Harry M. Jol, Yossi Salmon, Gloria I. López, Amani Abu Hamid

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Akko/Acre, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2001, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the eastern Mediterranean. Tel Akko was a major maritime centre of the southern Levant from the Middle Bronze to the Late Persian period. The city was then moved 1500 m to the west on the Akko promontory where the ‘Old City’ of Saint-Jean d'Acre is located. The natural and anthropogenic evolution of Tel Akko area is reflected by persistent geographical and habitation pattern changes. We combine sedimentological and faunal analyses of radiocarbon dated cores as well as identification of ceramic sherds found in the cores with ground penetrating radar investigations to propose an up-to-date palaeogeographical reconstruction of landscape/environmental changes of the Akko coastal plain in order to understand the extent to which environmental pressures have played a role on the position of anchorage and habitation patterns. We highlight how the local population make use of the natural advantages of the area and adapted to environmental pressures. Following a constant sedimentary input and simultaneous coastal progradation of the Akko coastal plain the main anchorage areas where forced to move. While the 2nd Millennium BCE anchorage was on the southern area of the tell, the late-1st Millennium BCE (Phoenician-Persian) anchorage was relocated on the western area. Vicissitudes in settlement pattern noted in archaeological excavations and surveys on Tel Akko have, most likely, been the consequence of the changes in the position of the coastline.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number106778
    JournalMarine Geology
    StatePublished - May 2022

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    This research has been carried out thanks to the support of the Binational Science Foundation (BSF) to the project “A Palaeo-Hydrological Approach to Understanding the Complex Coastal Evolution of an Ancient Maritime Trade City: The Tel Akko Multi-Disciplinary Case Study, Israel” to MA and HJ (Grant No. 2016080). MG postdoctoral fellowship was funded by the Authority for Advanced Studies, the Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences at the University of Haifa and the BSF.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2022 The Authors


    • Ancient anchorages/harbours
    • Biostratigraphy
    • Coastal changes
    • GPR
    • Paleogeography
    • Tel Akko

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Oceanography
    • Geology
    • Geochemistry and Petrology


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