Using a multi-proxy approach to locate the elusive Phoenician/Persian anchorage of Tel Akko (Israel)

Matthieu Giaime, Harry M. Jol, Yossi Salmon, Gloria I. López, Amani abu Hamid, Logan Bergevin, Paul Bauman, Alastair McClymont, Ethan Sailer-Haugland, Michal Artzy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous geoarchaeological research on the Akko coastal plain have contributed to the understanding of the ancient coastal interface and added evidence as to the location/shift of the ancient anchorages dating from the Middle Bronze Age (beginning of the 2nd Millennium BC) to the Early Hellenistic period (mid of the 2nd century BC) of the ancient site of Tel Akko. The present research provides new insights into the environmental changes and likely anchorage sites along the western edge of Tel Akko in the 1st Millennium BC (Iron Age II and III, periods associated with the Phoenician mariners and Persian army incursion). Our approach for locating the anchorage is based on a detailed investigation of subsurface sediments combining sedimentological and faunal analysis and radiocarbon dating of cores as well as identification of ceramic sherds found in the cores, and ground penetrating radar (GPR) and electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) surveys. Paleoenvironmental changes are compared and contrasted with the results of the archaeological investigations on the tell and in its vicinity. Our new data demonstrates that the Phoenician/Persian maritime interface of Tel Akko was mainly oriented toward the southwestern area of the tell where a natural anchorage was likely to have been located. At that time, the water depth in this area was ca. 2m, allowing for the anchorage of seagoing vessels. Increasing sediment deposition lead to the deterioration of direct, and eventual loss of access, to the sea. These conditions initiated the abandonment of the tell in the Early Hellenistic period as well as the westward shift to habitation on the peninsula, now the ‘Old city of Akko’, the Crusaders' Saint Jean d'Acre.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-81
Number of pages16
JournalQuaternary International
StatePublished - 20 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Anchorages/harbors
  • Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT)
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Geomorphology
  • Ground penetrating radar (GPR)
  • Ostracods
  • Sedimentology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Using a multi-proxy approach to locate the elusive Phoenician/Persian anchorage of Tel Akko (Israel)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this