donderdag 28 mei 2015

Joppe 4

The twilight town. 4.

The harbour of Joppe.
South of Joppe there was no natural bay or anchorage available. The distance Dor-Joppe is c.70 km. In between there are hardly anchoages with the exeption of Straton’s Tower, Tell Mikhmoret (Minet Abu Zubura), Apollonia/Arsuf and Makmish (Tel Michal). Most of those place have Phoenician remains. In Joppe itself an inner harbour or a sort of cothon was excavated. This is located east of Joppe on the ancient course of the river Ayalon. This could have been the old harbour of Joppe. Furthermore there was a superb natural harbour on the north-west side of the hill, protected by a chain of rocks. The basin is called “the Jaffa-sea” in biblical texts recording the transport of cedars of Lebanon to Jerusalem.

Around Joppe:
The area of Jaffa and the whole basin of the Yarkon is rich with archaeological sites. For instance: N.Avigad is convinced that Makmish, near Herzliyah, was a Phoenician site (Excavations at Makmish 1958, Preliminary Report, IEJ 10, 1960).  Deserted in the 8th century BC, it would have been reoccupied in the 5th and 4th century BC by the Phoenicians with a sanctuary. Here are found votive figurines.

Myths, legends or ….
Around Joppa are a lot of myths and stories emerged:
Jonas, who in his flight, boarded a ship at Joppa for Tarshish.
Jona 1:3: But Jonah is preparing to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord; and he came to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down in it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
In the Egyptian period an Egyptian writer with the nickname Mahar visits the surroundings of Yapu and tells us the following story: “During a drive through the gardens, orchards and vineyards around Yapu he lets stop his chariot to go pick fruit along the roadside. There he meets a female guardian of a vineyard, which is not exactly squeamish failed. After a pleasant get-together, he returned to his car and must establish that he was robbed of his weapons and horses.”
Plinius V,69:
The skeleton of the whale, where, according to myth, Andromeda was delivered to has Marcus Scaurus when he was Ediel, from Joppa in Judaea to Rome be transported and exhibited among other oddities. The skeleton was 40 feet long, the ribs were longer than those of Indian elephants and the spine was one and a half feet thick.”
This myth of Andromeda abandoned to the sea-monster is mentioned by Plinius, Strabo (Geography XVI 2,28), Pausanias (Description of Greece XIV 35,9), Flavius Josephus (The Jewish War III 9,3 par.420), Solinus (Collectanea rerum memorabilium XXXIV 1-2) and St.Jerome (Letter 108,8,2).
Andromeda’s father seems to be Cepheus (derived from Kepa=rock) and he exposed his daughter to the sea-monster to placate Poseidon and she was accordingly chained to the rock. Andromeda’s mother was called κασσιόπη. In the end of her name we read again iopa!
Conon makes the story even more beautiful than it already is: “Cepheus was king of Joppe, which was later called Phoenicia”.
Pomponius Mela gives yet another twist to the story:
“In Palestine, there is also the not so small Ascalon and moreover Iope, as it is called, which was founded before the flood; that here Kepheus as king ruled that confirm residents by the fact that they have some ancient altars with an inscription with his name and the name of his brother Phineus and they keep this in top worship: So, as a clear track for the saga celebrated in poetry and history, namely, that Andromeda was saved by Perseus and thereby draw attention to the huge bones of the sea monster.”

Some gods/goddesses are mentioned
We encounter an Astarte in the form of Atargis (Attar-Ate) a North-Syrian goddess.
Plinius mentions the worship of the fabulosa Ceto (=Derketo?).
The worship of Ešmun is also possible, but it is not certain.
True or not true?
J.Ringel assures us that Joppe has a Phoenician origin and that is confirmed by a Phoenician inscription from the 3rd century BC, which mentions a temple for Ešmun. (Césarée de Palestine, Paris, Editions Ophrys 1975).
The authors of the article ‘Jaffa’ in: Archaeology of the Holy Land, Jerusalem, Keter Publishing House 1974, p.110) does not hesitate either: “A Sidonian stone dedicatory inscription was discovered in Jaffa and mentions the establishment of a Sidonian temple in the city.” Those two previous publications are based on the findings and publication much earlier in 1892 by C.R.Conder (“The Prayer of Ben Abdas on the Dedication of the Temple of Joppa” in Pal.Expl.Fund 1892 pp.170-174).
However, in Syria LIII 1976 the eminent scholar J.Teixidor makes a simple statement about this: “It is certainly a fraud”, without giving any explanation! See: Bulletin d’épigraphie Sémitique.


Joppe 3

The twilight town. 3.

Phoenician period.
Phoenician masonry and building techniques in the 10th century BC appear in all the important buildings. We see vertical lines of blocks alternate with rubble (frame walls).
Seshonq I of Egypt in the 10th century BC comes in his campaign close to Joppe but does not enter the harbour.
In the 8th century BC the nearby town Tel Qasile comes again into the picture with the finding of a potsherd with the inscription: “gold of Ophir to Beth-Horon 30 shekels”. Could this be a hint, that Joppe is used as the harbour before the route was taken through the Sinaï desert to Ezeon-Geber by the Phoenicians?
In this period Joppe seems to be dependable from Sidqa, the king of Ashkalon.

Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian period.
In 701 BC Sanherib takes possession of the harbour of Joppe during his campaign against Hizkia of Judaea. An Egyptian army comes to the help of Hizkia, but is severely beaten at Elteke close to Joppe.
Nebukadnezar in the 6th century BC comes in the vicinity of Joppe, but does not enter the town.
Ezra 3:7: The return of the Jews from Babylonian captivity:
They gave money to the masons and carpenters, and meat and drink and oil to the Sidonians and the Tyrians to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the permission of Cyrus king of Persia to them.
Again the harbour of Joppe is used as entrance to Jerusalem.

Persian period.
The Persian king (Cambyses or Xerxes) gave Dor, Joppe and the plain of Sharon to Sidon:
KAI 14.18/19 (ph): w ‘ d  y t n  ’ d n  m l k m  ’ y t  d ’ r   w y p y.
« Furthermore, the lord of the kings ceded to us Dor and Joppa.” Note that in the larger inscription it is stated that Dor and Joppe are added to the territory of Sidon “for ever”. Does that signifies, that those places were in earlier times already Phoenician?
A free-stone wall, large building (temple?), metallurgical installations and a water-reservoir emerges. Under Persian rule there was also trade with Greece (Ritter-Kaplan). Especially Rhodian amphores are found on the harbour-side.

Hellenistic period.
A defence line was built by Alexander Yannai “from the mountain-side above Antiparis to the coast at the Jaffa-sea.” (Flav.Jos.Jew.War I 4,7 par.99).
In 144 BC Simon Maccabaeus (1M 12,33+13,11+14,5.34) managed to conquer Joppe. For the first time it is certain, that Joppe is a part of a Jewish state!

Roman period.
Plinius mentions the town several times. One of his remarks: Joppe is a “toparchie”:
That is an administrative area around a town. He claims that Joppe is a Phoenician town: “ioppe phoenicum antiquior terrarium inundatione ut ferunt”.
Solinus says: “the chains of Andromeda are still there.”


Joppe 2

The twilight town. 2.

2nd Millennium BC
16th century BC: The conquest of Yapu in the first campaign of the pharaoh Thutmosis III is evident from his topographical list. Yapu was taken by a trick by a fellow called Dhuit and Thutmosis did not take part in its conquest. After its conquest, Yapu became an Egyptian administrative centre, as is evident from the Amarna letters as well as from the papyrus Anastasi I. It describes Yapu as a large city with an arsenal and with workshops for repairing chariots.
It should be noted that archaeological excavations at the mound of ancient Yapu did not reveal any signs of destruction that might be attributed to its conquest by Thutmosis’s troops (Area A, Startum VI). It is possible that its conquest by trick saved it from destruction.
There is also a certain link between a number of towns in the south, near Jaffa, and the people of Dan, like Tell Qasile. This town was important in the 12th and 11th century. It was close to the coast with a temple and with much Philistine pottery. For the first time we see here appear iron objects. The tribe Dan has not space enough and emigrates to the north to the town of Lesem.
12th – 11th century BC: Originally Philisteia was the name of a strip of land in the Holy Land between Jaffa and Gaza with the foothills of Judaea forming its eastern boundary.
However you look at it, the Bible has a major impact on telling the story of Joppe, at least if you may or can believe the content of the Bible.
11th century BC: Josh.19:47: Joppe is given to the tribe of Dan together with a corridor to this place. That Joppe really was taken by the tribe of Dan is not certain, but the fact, that it is also said, that the people of Dan had ships, makes it plausible.
10th century BC: Hiram responded to the request of Salomon as follows:
2 Chron.16: “And we will cut wood out of Lebanon, according to all thy need, and we will bring it on rafts on the sea to Joppa; and thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem.”

This statement makes it not clear if Joppe is independent, under Hiram or under Salomon.


Joppe 1

The twilight town. 1.

Yp (phoen.) Ypy (genitive)
Yapo (hebr.)
Ypw (Egypt.)
Yapo (ass.)
Ioppe (greek, lat)
Jaffa (arab)
Yafo (nowadays)

If the story is true, Jaffa is one of the oldest cities in the world because it was founded by Japhet, son of Noah, who arrived there forty years after the Flood. Jafo is the Jewish word for “the beautiful”.  It stands on a panoramic promontory south of the centre of Tel Aviv, surrounded by Crusader fortifications.

Some topographical facts:

The coastal road from Egypt to the north runs via Gaza and Ashdod to Joppe; after that the road turns in north-eastern direction along the Yarkon river to Afek and then to the north along the edge of the hills. Joppe has a strong strategic position, because it is the only sheltered harbour in this region. It forms the caesura between the northern and southern plains along the coast. Nowadays it is a part of Tel Aviv.


maandag 25 mei 2015

zondag 24 mei 2015

Dor 5

A southern Phoenician town in the Levant. 5

Archaeological evidence, above all excavations at Tel Dor suggest extending the Phoenician cultural territory to the south, considering the coastal district north of the Yarkon River as the southern part of Phoenicia.
The detailed analysis of the ceramic assemblages at Dor from Iron Age I layers, carried out by Ayelet Gilboa, demonstrate the strong cultural affinities of the region with northern Phoenica, and dissociate it from the southern regions of Palestine. The data unearthed at Ackzib, Acco, Khurvat Rosh Zayit, Tell Keisan, Tell Abu Hawam, Shiqmona, Atlit, Dor, Tel Michal and Jaffa, dating from the Early Iron Age and into the Hellenic Period, plead for designating this region “Southern Phoenicia”.
E.Stern. Excavations at Dor, Final Report IA-B, Jerusalem 1995. Large scale excavations, started in 1980 under the direction of E.Stern, have reached Late Bronze II strata, dating approximately to the time of Ramesses II (1279-1212 BC), when Dor is mentioned for the first time as Tw-i3-r. The oldest archaeological relics however date from c.3000-2000 BC.
Red-on-Black pottery and Cyclopaedian wall appear in the Middle Bronze Age IIC (c.1650-1550 BC).
In the early Iron Age we encounter a lot of bichrome ceramics (The Dynamics of Phoenician Bichrome Pottery. A view from Tel Dor, A.Gilboa).
Layer XII (1150-1050 BC) town of the Sikels
Layers X-XI Phoenicians take over the town
Layer IX (1000-1050 BC) Hebrew influence (in the time of David?)
Layer VIII
Layer VII (1000-925 BC) destruction by Shishak / Seshonq I pharaoh.
See: Phoenicians, Sikils and Israelites in the Light of Recent Excavations at Tel Dor, E.Stern.
The original harbour was made in the Love bay close to the Northwest edge of the Tell. In the Iron Age (especially Persian period) the North Bay got more important.
Seals of glass in the Persian episode: the conical one of them is called the scorpion man, because it consists of a sphinx, body of a bird and an Assyrian bearded head. The other one is a scaraboid and was part of a ring. Here we see the Persian king or Baal Ešmoen in his chariot. See: Two Phoenician Glass Seals from Tel Dor, E.Stern.
There are two other destruction layers:
- stratum VB (400/380-350 BC) by actions of Evagoras.
- stratum VA (350-275 BC) in the aftermath of the revolt of Tennes.

KAI 14.18/20 (ph):
W ‘ d  y t n  l n  ’ d n  m l k m  ’ y t  d ’ r  w y p y ……
w y s p n n m  ‘ l t  g b l  ’ r  s  l k n n m  l Ṣ d n m
« Furthermore, the lord of kings ceded to us Dor and Joppe, ……
And we annexed them to the territory of <our> land. That they might belong to the Sidonians forever.”
A bifacial seal (750-700 BC): “to Ṣadoq, son of Mika, [so]n of Krio[s], priest-king of Dor.
l-Ṣdq / bn mk’/ [b]n kryw / khn D’r.
Krio[s] (greek) could also be: Z]kharayu (hebrew).
See: The priest of Dor by N.Avigad.


Dor 4

A southern Phoenician town in the Levant. 4

Assyrian period:
In 733 The Assyrian king Tiglat-Pileser III made a number of campaigns in this direction and came also to Dor. In 732 BC Dor is for a while the capital of the Assyrian province Surru.
Esarhaddon gives in the 7th century BC the region of Dor to Ba‘lu of Tyre. This can be read in the treaty Baal I made with the Assyrian king (675-671 BC). It is confirmed by a large amount of commercial jars of Tyrian types in the following years. Assyrian overall control however lasted to 619 BC, because a Assyrian governor of Sumur (Manni-ki-ahle) assumed the eponym function in that year. After that there was a short Egyptian intermezzo. In 616 BC we see pharaoh Psammetichus I operate all the way in Mespotamia supporting the Assyrians against Nabopolassar, king of Babylon.

Persian period:
In 1988 Moscati said: Dor and Joppe were conquered (?) by Sidon in Persian Period, but neither of these two centres have any typically Phoenician features (?). He makes two mistakes. The towns were given to Sidon and they were to a certain degree indeed Phoenician. Recent excavations have proven that!
The king of Sidon (c.520 or c.450 BC) was given the Palestinian cities of Dor and Jaffa, as he himself records in an inscription: “Furthermore, the lord of kings ceded to us Dor and Joppe, the mighty lands of Dagon, which are in the plain of Sharon, in proportion to the important things I have done. And we annexed them to the territory of <our> land, so that they might belong to the Sidonians forever.
No wonder Pseudo-Scylax (Periplus 1.78) named Dor: Δωρος πολις Σιδωνιων.
In the time of Pseudo-Scylax (c.346/345) the town is still under control of Sidon.
In this period an urban renaissance takes place with axial hippodamic streetplanning.
Domestic architecture: often, a large horizontally aligned hall provided access to two (and sometimes three) smaller adjacent rooms of equal size in the rear.

Hellenistic period:
Bocks of houses are built of 20 meters wide and the streets are becoming wider (3-5 meters). A new administrative centre and storehouses are built. The new walls are made in the ashlar masonry method. In 275 BC Ptolemeus II Philadelphus builts a new wall in Greek style around the town. The Phoenician town is transferred to a Hellenistic polis.
In 219 BC Dor is attacked in vain by Antiochus III. The defence was lead by Nikolaos.
In 139 a complete renovation was made in the time that there was fight going on between Antiochus VII Sidetes against Tryphon.
After a period under the local dynasty of Zoïlos (F.J.A.J.XIII 324) and the Hasmonian kingdom of Alexander Jannée (103-76 BC) the Romans entered the scene. Pompeius grants the town autonomy in 63 BC (F.J.A.J.XIV 76).

Roman period:
Plinius places the boundary between Phoenicia and Palestine at Caesarea (which is south of Dor) and for him Dor was the most southerly important town of Phoenicia.
Strabo (16.275): “Between the two places (Acre and Straton’s tower) is Mount Carmel, as also towns of which nothing more than the names remain…. I mean the towns of Sycamnion, Bucalon, Crocodeilon and others like them.” Dor itself is not mentioned explicitely any more!
The Roman period is a period of decline. In the 3rd  century AD is the town abandoned.


Dor 3

A southern Phoenician town in the Levant. 3

Phoenician period:
Pietschmann knows already in 1887, that Dor is a Phoenician town. He quotes Stephanos of Byzantium who tells from the ‘Phoenician history of Klaudios Iolaos’, “the Phoenicians possessed the city Dor and is also inhabited by Phoenicians.” According to Pietschmann: This is the southernmost point of the Syrian area where surely a Phoenician settlement can be detected.
In the 10th century BC there is a vivid corporation between Israel and Tyre. Phoenician goods and commodities entered Israel through the ports of Dor and Joppe.
The strata of the 11th and 10th centuries BC contain fragments on painted Cypriot pottery. Recent archaeological research has brought to light a stretch of the city wall which includes remnants of monumental entrance gate with rooms inside and two towers flanking it outside; the construction is of mud bricks on a stone base.
Considering the distinctive features of this complex, in use from the 9th to the 8th century BC, has been attributed to the Phoenicians and it is therefore considered the only known example of Phoenician monumental architecture from the pre-Assyrian period.
Two deposits of votive material found in different areas of the city, but from the same period are of some interest. One contained terracotta and stone votive statuettes of a kind often found in sanctuaries in central Phoenicia and on the Palestinian coast; the other contained terracotta figures of a Greek type together with Greek pottery. (A.Ciasca in 1988).
Red burnished pottery is from 9th-8th century abundant present in Dor. There are three types:
- mushroom-lipped jug;
- trefoil-lipped jug with a long neck;
- biconical jug.

In the 9th century the ramparts of Dor consist of a solid massive brick wall, some 3 meters wide, reinforced at its base by a plaster-faced clay glacis and constructed upon foundations built partly of brick and partly of stone. The city-gate is flanked by mudbrick towers set upon a foundation of huge limestone blocks. The walls have a regular alternation of salients and recesses.

Dor 2

A southern Phoenician town in the Levant. 2

Second millennium:
Dor is already founded in the Middle Bronze Age IIA around c.1850 BC.
It was mentioned by Ramesses II in the Amara-west list (XXVIa:76). In this time a harbour quay was made. Maybe there is even an earlier attestation of the name [T]w-i3-r at Soleb in a topographical list of Amenhotep III (c.1387-1350 BC).
On the Wen Amon papyrus (I,8) the town and the population comes forward.
The Sekels of Dor are also known from the Ramesses III inscriptions.
The Bible, if we believe the contents, tells us in Judges 1:18-19:  “Judah was not able to drive out the inhabitants of the plain, for they had chariots of iron.”
Around 1075 BC the Egyptian messenger Wen Amon wants to buy wood for the Pharaoh in Byblos. On the way to Byblos he clashed with one of the sea-peoples: the Sekel or Tjeker  (T3-k3-r) of Dor; they were more robber than merchant; had apparently free play at sea and pursued him to Byblos.
What happened exactly? The envoy sailed for the East on a ship captained by a Phoenician and was welcomed with respect by the prince of the city of Dor. This prince (wr) was called b3-dy-r, most likely no proper name, but the Semitic title “substitute”, badilu or badalu, is implying that the prince was depending from a higher authority (king of Tyre?). During his stay in this city, however, he was robbed of the gold and silver he brought with him to buy the timber. The prince of Dor refused to compensate him for the loss and so Wen Amon resolved to take the law in his own hands. (S.Pernigotti in 1988). In the end Wen Amon could after much difficulty purchase timber from Sakarbaal, king of Byblos. Then landed suddenly the Tjeker in the harbour of Byblos, who actually did want that timber to transport to Egypt. Sakarbaal did not proceed against the Tjeker, but ordered Wen Amon to leave. (Herm 1971).
This period is marked in Dor by the presence of a scarabee, an ivory plaque and many bichrome jugs of Cypriotic origin. In this 11th century some events which are mentioned in the Old Testament could have happened:
Jos. 11:2, 12:23, 17:11: It seems, that Dor participated in a Canaanite coalition against Joshua with the Israelite people, but this coalition was beaten at Merom and Hazor.
Judg. 1:27: Dor was a Canaanite city: Manasseh did not expel the inhabitants…. of Dor and of the towns of its territory …. and the Canaanites wanted to stay in this country.
Kings 4:11: The son of Abinadab possessed the whole area of Dor; he had as wife Tafath, the daughter of Salomo.
1 Chron. 7:29: The children of Manasse were in Dor and her subordinate towns.

Despite these sentences it must be stated, that Dor was never fully occupied by the Israelites. It is clearly excluded from the empire of Salomo, because his territory ended at “all the ‘napat’ of Dor (I Kings 4,11). ‘Napat’ means something like the lagoon, which is clearly present at Dor at that time. 

Dor 1

A southern Phoenician town in the Levant. 1

D ’ r (phoen.)
Twy3r (eg.)
Duru (akk.)
Dora/Doros (greek)
Dor (biblical)
Khirbat al Burj (nowadays)

The settlement is located near Tanturah.
An Englishman Thomson describes the area in 1857 as follows: “a sad and dreary hamlet…..
a nude beach, separated from the eastern hills by a swampy area.”
The swamps are now gone. The ridge of Kurkar is still there. Kurkar is a sandstone type, which is hardened by water and wind. Furthermore there are dunes and relics of the oak forests (Tabor oak=Quercus ithaburensis).
To the north of Dor we find Atlit and to the south the Nahr Zerka (blue river) or Crocodile river (Plinius). A little further to the south there is Caesarea or the tower of Straton. The latter suggests, that it was made by an Astarte, the Phoenician.


woensdag 20 mei 2015

Akko 4

A short history in antiquity. Part 4.

Phoenician Akko has been completely obliterated by age? In any case the Canaanite Akka was situated on the so-called Kukar ridge, 1,2 km to the east of the actual old city of Acco. It is a 36m high hill with the name Tell el Fukhar, which could mean: potsherd hill.
No, M.Dothan discovered few traces of the Persian period: strata IV + V which belong to this period are only founding the areas A and D where a large administrative complex has come to light; in stratum IV has been found a Phoenician ‘ribbed’ wall.
M.Dothan. Akko, Interim Excavation Report, First season 1973-74. BASOR 224 (1976) and Chronique archéologique RB 82 (1975).
The earliest Iron Age occupation of Akko is scant and characterized by installations of local industrial character (furnaces, kilns, stone-lined silos etc.).
In the 7th century BC a building is made of 15 meters in length and divided in three rooms.
In the Persian period we see an urban expansion with the institution of axial ‘hippodamic’ street planning. The central courtyard house is the commonest type of building in Persian times (square groundplan, latitudial rooms, multiple corridors).
In to days Fishermen’s harbour (Han al-‘Umdan a Phoenician cothon (tiny harbour) has been found and even the remains of a cargo (4th-3rd century BC).

KAI 49,34 (ph):
’ n k   p ‘ l ’ b s t   b n   Ṣ d y t n   b n   g r Ṣ d   h Ṣ r y   y š b   ‘k y
I am Paalubast son of Sidyaton son of Gersid the Tyrian, a resident of Acco.
KAI 120 (ph):
Another inscription has been found on a spearhead from el-Ruweish and belongs probably to Iddo a soldier out of Akko, who was buried at the end of the 11th century BC near Sidon.
(ḥ s  ’ d ’  bn  ‘k y).

Strabo: the famous beach that provides suitable sand for the preparation of glass and that is situated between Akko and Tyre. Tacitus and Isidorus repeat that.
Strabo (16.271) says: The Sidonians came to the coast between Tyre and Acre in order to get the sand used in making glass; but he does not seem to believe this tradition.
Nevertheless Plinius comes also with a glass-story (36.190).
The beach is no more than a half-mile wide and it was for centuries the only suitable place to produce glass. The story goes that a ship with traders in soda stranded there and they spread across the beach to prepare their meals. Because they could not find stones to put their kettles, they placed there lumps of soda from the ship. When they were warm and melted with beach sand came transparent rivulets of an unknown liquid flow out. So the first glass would be formed.”

In the late 5th century BC some Tyrians coins were minted in Acco (Quaterly of the Department of Antiquities in Palestine, Vol.I p.10).
In the Roman period pictures of temples occur on coins at Ptolemais-Ace.

Late Bronze facilities for the production of purpledye from the murex shell have been discovered at Akko suggesting an active export trade in dyed wool- and linen garnements.
In 1971 a load of small clay statues of Tanit were found on the bottom of the sea at 1 km outside Akko. Apparently they came from a ship that was sunk just before it reached the safe harbour of the town. See: A sign of Tanit from Tel ‘Akko, M.Dothan, Isr.Expl.Journ.24 (1974).
The potsherds in the Assyrian period look very much the same at Akko, Tyre, Sidon and Byblos (7th century BC).
Egyptian interventions are easily recognizable by the objects found in Akko (amulets) (6th century BC).
In the Persian period Attic pottery appears in ever-increasing quantities by the end of the 5th century BC. Enclaves of resident foreigners appear on offshore islets or wharves creating open emporia.
Other objects:
- offering table of Achoris (392-380 BC).
- bronze mirror out of the late Bronze II period.
- Pit with pottery from the Persian period.
- Ostracon with the letters: ’ š r t = shrine.
- Ostracon with a stamp in the shape of the so called Tanit sign.
- one tiny stone mould with the letters: ’ š ’.
- anses.
- Seal with the letters: l Ṣ ---- ’ l w ‘ z ’ (El has aided). See: R.Giveon/A.Lemaire, Sceau phénicien inscrit d’Akko avec scène religieuse, Semitica XXXV. The seal comes from the 8th-7th century BC and was made of steatite. On the seal we see an atef-crown, plant, sceptre and a gazelle.


On the basis of our present knowledge we must recognize the correctness of the tradition of the ancient peoples who refused to ascribe the creation of the alphabet to the Phoenicians. This achievement was attributed instead to the Syrians (of Palestine), whom today we prefer to call Canaanites. (The Question of the Alphabet, Giovanni Garbini). If this is true, then Akko could have functioned as an intermediary station.

Akko 3

A short history in antiquity. Part 3.

Phoenician Period.
In the beginning of the 9th century BC the town is refortified and new residential quarters and large public buildings arise in the northern and eastern sectors of the tell.
Finally a 20 hectares wide settlement exists about 700 meters from the sea on the northern bank of the river Na’aman, which turned just before the Kurkar hill to the west.  
It can not be established whether Acco overseas participated in the Phoenician expansion.

Assyrian period.
In 727 BC Acco was forced to join a anti-Tyrus coalition by king Salmannassar V of Assyria. They fought half hearted a sea battle and were driven away from Tyre.
The Assyrian king Sennacherib in 701 BC: “In my third campaign I went against the Hittite land (Syria). Luli, king of Sidon, - the terrors of the splendours of my sovereignty overcame him and far off in the midst of the sea he fled. There he died. Great-Sidon, Little-Sidon, Bit-Zitti, Sarepta, Mahalliba, Ushu, Akzib, Akka, his strong, walled cities where there were fodder and drinking-places for his garrisons, - the terror of the weapons of Assur, my lord, overpowered them and they bowed in submission at my feet….”
The Assyrian king Ashurbanipal (668-626 BC) says: “I slaughtered the rebel populace of Acco. Their corpses I hung on stacks around the city. I carried away the survivors to Assyria, joined them to my military organisation, adding to the many troops which Assur had given me.” (ARAB II, 830). Around 640 BC Acco is fully under Assyrian state-control.

Persian period.
The Persians consider Acco as a Phoenician town.
In this period Acre (Acco) was more important than its northern neighbour Akzib for in 374 BC it played a strategic role, and Artaxerxes II concentrated his troops there in preparation for his campaign against Egypt (Diod.15.410). Under the Achaemenids (Cambyses) Acco becomes a important administrative centre.
At the end of this period the residents of Tell el Fukhar moved to the peninsula and made there a new harbour. This peninsula is 700m long and 300-600m wide. They started to make a breakwater in order to make a safe haven against the incoming winds. These expanded harbour constructions at the port of Acco attests to the burgeoning commerce and economy.
Acco has developed to an important maritime base for the Persians (Strabo XVI 2,25 + Diod. XV 41,3). It has become also an important centre for Greek trade.

Hellenistic Period.
Ptolemais I tears down the walls of the town in 312 BC (Diod.XIX 93,7).
Ptolemais II got hold of Acco in 281 BC and decorated it. He renamed it to Ace-Ptolemaïs.
Acco swithes between the empires of the Ptolemaic rulers and the Seleucids.  Antiocus VII gives it the title: holy and inviolable.  After a intermediate period under Alexander Janné, Ptolemeus IX and Tigranes of Armenia the Roman period begins.

Roman period.
In 54 AD the town got the name Colonia Ptolemaïs.

Akko 2

A short history in antiquity. Part 2.

The second millennium BC.
According to Egyptian texts was Acco a independent city state in 2nd millennium BC.
The settlement is named already on Egyptian statues of the 19th and 18th century BC.
In the Execration Texts of the 18th century BC a prince is named: Tura-‘Ammu (T3’mw).
Canaanite ‘Aka was conquered by Thutmosis III in 1479 BC, Seti and Ramesses II. The ancient city was located at Tell el-Fukhkhar, east of the site of Medieval and Turkish Acco.
Archaeological excavations confirm that it was founded in the Middle Bronze period II A, corroborating the evidence of the Execration Texts. From that time on Acco remained an important coastal city throughout its long history, until Haifa port was built.
The ships of Ugarit (c.150) sailed on all the important harbours, also Akka, which was a centre of commerce. It is a flourishing fortified city from the Middle Bronze II period.

Egyptian garrisons were located in the 14th century BC on the Carmel ridge at the beginning of the road to Akka.
During the so-called El Amarna (c.1375 BC) period Zurata/šutatna from Akka appears in the correspondence of Rib-Addi of Gubla to the pharaoh. His father is named šaratum. The daughter Giluhiba is married to Amenophis III of Egypt.
Letter kn 85 El Amarna: Rib-Addi to the king no.13
- 19 … And may he give
- 20 400 people, 30 pai[r] horses
- 21 as were given to Zu[r]a[t]a
- 22 that they may protect the city for thee.
Letter kn 88 El Amarna: Rib-Addi to the king no.14.
- 46 The messenger of the king of Akka
- 47 is more heeded than [my] messenger,
- 48 be]cau[se a horse was given to him
- 49……. Two horses
- 50 ……… under hi[m
- 51 [But] I come not forth
The last sentences are unclear.
Letter kn 111 El Amarna: Rib-Addi to the king no.27
- 21 …. B[e]hold the Mi-lim people
- 22 [have en]tered Ak[ka],
- 23 [be]cau[se] not ....
The reason has faded away, but it is clear that Akka was invaded by the Mi-lim people, who were hostile to the pharaoh and his vassal šutatna.
King Burnaburiash III of Karduniash (Babylon) writes a letter around 1360 BC to pharaoh Amenhotep IV and remembers him of the treaty of friendship that his father Kurialzu made before with Egypt. He wants the villains from Akka be punished, because they robbed and killed his merchants in the land of Kinachi (Canaan) at the place Hinnatuna at the wadi Melek and/or at Nergla in the area of Zebulon.
E.F.Morris made an investigation into obsequiousness in the Amarna letters with the title “Bowing and scraping in the Ancient World” (JNES vol.65,3, 2006). He investigated 27 towns how humble and submissive those kings or princes were towards their boss, the pharaoh. Tunip with a score of 1.6 is less submissive and Ashkelon the most submissive with the score of 5.0. Akka stands on the fourth place in subservience with the score of 4.45. How closer to Egypte, how more humble the towns were.
In the 12th century BC the region of Phoenicia shows a marked differentiation from the neighbouring areas and a strong inner consistency as regards language, religious beliefs, artistic expression and political and administrative organisation.
The southernmost boundary of Phoenicia has been fixed at Ras Naqura, which is in fact a natural limit, but the towns of Akzib (now Al Zib) and Acre (Akka), which were Canaanite according to the Old Testament, at that time were part of Tyrian or Sidonian territory (Judges 1: 31).  In this early Iron Age the town is however reduced to a much smaller settlement.
The archives of Ugarit has a tablet (KTU 2.38) in which the king of Tyre informes the king of Ugarit, that a ship of his with captain Shukku got in trouble near Akka (c.1250 BC).
The leading Phoenician cities after 1200 BC were Arwad, Gebal, Sidon, Soer and Akka. Akka was however not as strong as the other cities, and alternated for some time between Phoenicia and Israelite control, after the latter entered the area about the 12th century BC.

The town is allotted to the tribe of Asher (Josh.19.30), but that tribe did not drive out the inhabitants of Akka (Judg.1.30). Somewhat later the region stood under control of David. His son Salomon ceded however again 20 towns to Hiram of Tyre.

Akko 1

A short history in antiquity. Part 1.

‘ k / ‘ k y  (ph) = Tall al-Fukhkhar
’ k (ugaritic)
K3 (Egyptian)
Akka/Akku (akad)
‘ a k k o (hebr)
Α κ η / Aké (gr)
Ace Ptolemais (lat)

Acco lies on the northern edge of the by of Haifa. North of Acco the plain is 5-13 km wide. In the 19th century AD there were still orchards. To the south of Acco there was in antiquity a swamp area (Cendebia), in which the rivers Na’amen (Belos?) and Hillazou flow. Now we find here fish ponds and around Acco beach resorts. The plain of Zebulon is now 6-9 km wide and 20 km long. Probably the alluvion amounted to 4 km along which the old settlements were located. Those old settlements were not very well protected. The hills north of Acco were in earlier times wooded with the Palestinian oak (Quercus calliprinos).
The initial town was situated on the Tell el-Fukhar (mooring pole) at the source ‘Ain as-Sitt.

The region.
Phoenicia forms the coastal region between Tell Suqas in the north to Acco in the south.
Acco seems to be a part of Phoenicia. Further to the south the region is called Syrian. Herodotos named it Syrian Palestine. Acco controlled the territory between the Ladders of Tyre and the Kishon (Nahr el-Muqatta, the Graeco-Roman Belos).
Plinius (36.190):
In the part of Syria which is called Phoenicia and Judea borders lies at the foot of the mountain Carmelus a swamp, Candebia called. There springs, one assumes, the river Belus, which flows from a distance of 5 miles near the town of Ptolemais in sea ...”


Acco lies on a old trade-route along Megiddo and further on to the coast to the north. The other way around an important caravan-trail went through Galilea to the Jordan valley to the south and to Syria in the north. Joppe and Acco are the only excellent harbours along the Palestine coast.