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by Jennifer Munro

The virtual Tel Akko site is building up as rapidly as the archaeology team breaks down the physical one. While the archaeologists and students dig up the dirt and find treasures that have been buried for thousands of years, I’ve been running around with a camera and notebook, finding treasures of a different kind. Obviously I’ve spent more time with some people than with others, but I’ve been hugely impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of the entire team (in spite of the heat, the flies, the dirt, the time pressures and the Muezzin at 4.15 am).

What treasures there are here in the form of such powerful and wise men and women, and the amazing information that fills their minds! It has struck me many times that I’ve been immensely privileged to benefit from the accumulated wisdom of such people during my time here. I’ve tried to remain in the moment, to listen, to absorb and to remember everything I’ve been told about places, people and things that I had only dreamt of previously. I’ve interviewed fascinating people, listened to interesting lectures, drunk beer with some of the finest minds and biggest personalities I’ve ever known, and been exposed to many new and exciting ideas. This is pure gold for a writer!

Another trove of treasures is the town of Akko itself. I’ve had the time of my life discovering the Crusader fort, Abu Christo, The Pisan harbour, the market and the funny little places that lurk down the twisted, narrow, cobble-stone streets. Anyone with an imagination can see Turks in flowing gowns and jewelled slippers slipping down the narrow alleys during the Ottoman period, or reclining in the bath house surrounded by perfumed oils and ointments. I imagined Crusaders striding across the caravanserai in their chainmail with scarlet crosses on their chests and broadswords at their sides. I think I saw camels wearing tasseled cloths, laden with silk and spices, tethered by the gate and tended by Arab traders, hot and dusty from their long overland crossing.

Imprinted on my mind forever, is an insane boat trip that I took with my new best friend, Jihad (who speaks as much English as I speak Hebrew or Arabic – never mind! He smiles and waves his hands about as I do…) in order to photograph Tel Akko  from the sea. I had some romantic idea about photographing it the way the ancient settlers from across the seas would have viewed it for the first time, had it been there in their time. I was quickly jerked back into the reality of a boat ride seemingly propelled by Arab music played at an ear-splitting volume, violent tossing and pitching caused by the captain deliberately aiming straight for the biggest waves he could find, and the shrieks of delight from the small children crowding the rails. To my great surprise, I came safely back to the harbour nursing nothing worse than a queasy stomach and newly-deafened ears. The video below explains it far better than words ever could!

At first it was very strange for me to be the ‘new girl’, coming into an operation where everyone seemed to know everyone else, and I was a complete outsider, but I hope I’ve made some new friends while spreading a little magic of my own!

I’ve learnt so much about Tel Akko, about the science that grabs everyone here and about this magical place. One day we’ll all look back on this time – and maybe on this website – and remember how much fun we had. I hope so!

About jennie
I'm the irritating person who's always there with a camera - wanting an interview, asking silly questions and getting in the way of the serious archaeology. I'm an author, a publisher (Fernro Publishing), an ex-advertising agency owner and Creative Director, a mother and a grandmother. I only do things I really want to do now - building Tel Akko's website with you was one of them.


  • Steve Roth
    5:02 AM - 9 August, 2016

    Jennie looks like you got off light… Calm waters ..you need to do it in the winter !

    • Jennifer Munro
      5:48 AM - 9 August, 2016

      You would love this dig Steve – everyone was so calm. No shouting or screaming!

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The other site at Tel Akko