Harbour informations about: Jetty

At the port that lies south in the area of the modern port of Abdera a mole was traced that protects the port from east and south. It is 170-180m long, runs from E-W with a slight turn to the north. Its width is from 5.5 to 8m. It is made of granite blocks and rough stone boulders. The excavators traced two building phases. To the second one belongs a gradient that was interpreted as a new foundation base.

At the point where the mole turns north, at its southern side, stand two adjacent horseshoe shaped towers.

The port that lies at the eastern part of the city, in Agios Giannis area, is formed by the extension of the eastern part of the city wall; it is 30m long and ends at a semicircular tower, 6m in diameter. Its masonry is rather refined and it is founded on an older square structure. It was probably destroyed by an earthquake, as can be surmised by the fallen blocks on its eastern side.


Traces of this additional structure may be seen by the huge ashlars laid astride the breakwater; 12 m long and in cross-section, a width of 1.5 x 1.5 m. The stones were set at intervals of one meter, forming a series of openings at sea level. These openings that were bridged by a pier above, allowed the waves to circulate through the openings and create a water surplus within the harbor basin. As the water circulated back to the open sea, it flushed the accumulated silt on the harbor’s floor.

No building remains have been found so far in the port of Akko that may be attributed to the Late Roman and Byzantine periods.


From the northern end of the north wall on the shore, a quay built of Roman granite columns in secondary use, was laid to the west. The columns were placed next each other on top of a rocky abrasion shelf and the gaps between were filled with stone construction and mortar. The jetty extends to the west for 100 m and than turns to S-SW. Most of the southern part of the jetty is submerged beneath the sea level (0.20 – 0.30 m in calm sea), as a result of the collapse of its stone foundation. Additional remains of this jetty have been found for another 40 m along its original line.


Late-Classical Eastern Jetty

Today the surviving part of this jetty lies in an eastward-westward direction, measures 19 m in length and is made of stone (the type of construction is similar to the one of the Eastern jetty that dates to the same period). Prior to its destruction by earth fills that were carried out at the end of the 1960’s, the jetty extended from the southern tip of Pezonisi and run southwards along 60 meters, then wound to the west closing the ancient port on the northeast.

Classical-period jetty and 2nd-century spur dike

At the southern end of the town’s western wall a rectangular stone construction runs almost parallel to the western jetty. It is half a meter wide, and its direction remains steady along 48 meters, while it slightly winds to the south-east and stretches along another five meters. During the last five years, this construction lies beneath the seafloor at about 60-80 cm. At the point of curvature there is a rip-rap running parallel to the present-day coast; the ceramics that were incorporated in it revealed that it dates to the 2nd century BC when it served as a protective spur dike of the coastal wall which survives today.

The spur dike is 110 m long and 4 m wide. Its upper surface displays a camber. This structure was apparently built in haste and in all probability is associated with the siege of Eretria by the Romans in 198 BC (Liv. 32, 16, 6-17). Au contraire, the jetty is a continuation of the western wall and, on the basis of this, its construction is traced somewhere between the late 5th and early 4th century BC.

Western jetty of the late Classical Period

This jetty demarcates the western end of the Eretrian port. It is a monumental crude-stone structure extending along 600 m approximately, with a direction from NNW to SSE. Its south-southwestern tip on which the modern port’s lighthouse is sited winds to the east for about 55 m, thus protecting the port’s entrance from the south. The first 300 m of this construction are covered by a modern jetty, which, after said 300 m, runs in parallel to the ancient structure.


The northern end of the harbour consists of a part of the wall that was founded on the jetty for a considerable length east of the northern castle.


The harbour offered protection from the prevailing in the area northwestern winds. Two points of land have been extended artificially to create two moles. The moles’ ends left a gap of about 150m that formed the entrance to the harbour. The internal part of the harbour was about 30 square km.

Both moles were built almost vertically to the coast and extended from the North to the South for about 100m. There is some evidence to support that the north mole partly consisted of rubble mass and was based upon the southwestern end of a shelf of natural bedrock.


On the coast are visible two of the three jetties of the presumed ‘entrance harbour’ with a length of 10 –15m, although the jetties continue under the beach to the south (Fig. 3). The jetties are constructed of large stones upon which may be seen grooves at different points. These grooves and other similar features may have been used for the connection of the stones with the upper layers of the mole, for the placement of the large blocks, or even for the niches from which wooden scaffolds and wharfs would have projected from the moles. The third (eastern) jetty is only visible underwater and is composed of heaped rubble, perhaps indicating a different period of construction and possible function. This mole may have functioned as a protective barrier for the western entrance to the inner harbour from the undercurrents prevalent in the area. At the end of the western jetty a construction, such as a fortified tower or lighthouse, was probably constructed.


Das äußere östliche Hafenbecken wurde durch zwei brückenartige Molen von 100 und 180 m Länge geschützt, die nur eine enge Durchfahrtsöffnung frei ließen. Bei der Punta Terrone wie auch an der Punta Pennata, an der äußersten Spitze der Hafeneinfahrt, sind Reste einer mächtigen Mole aus Gußmauerwerk aufgenommen worden (Pilae-Konstruktion). Letztere diente hauptsächlich dazu die Einfahrt gegen den Westwind "Scirocco" zu schützen. Die beiden Pfeilerreihen der längeren westlichen Mole waren zusätzlich gegeneinander versetzt, um das Durchlaufen der Wellen zu unterbinden. Der Nachteil der Molen war, daß auch die Strömungen unterbunden wurden, die bis dahin die Versandung verhindert hatten. So durchstieß man die Punta Sarparella und die Punta Pennata mit je zwei Tunneln, welche -ohne daß Wellen eindringen konnten - bis heute erfolgreich für den nötigen Wasseraustausch sorgen.
Dieser äußere Hafen diente vermutlich als Reede und Bereitstellung der Flotte, event. auch für übungen.


The two natural jetties projected into the sea with the extension of the walls that run along the eastern and western coastline of the harbour, in order to form a narrow entrance. The moles were constructed, in their upper part, with the use of rectangular large stones of local porous limestone (aktetis) with a length of more than 3.30m which were held in position with the help of clamps sheathed with lead (Shaw, J.W., 1972, p.90-91). The moles had a length of 130m each leaving an entrance of 50 m. The coastal walls of the harbour extended over those two moles to form, at each extreme, a large rectangular tower (Spon, 1676, p.234) from which a chain was hang across the entrance, to protect the harbour in case of a sudden attack.


The jetties of the basins coincide with projections of the city walls in the sea.


A short, open jetty replaced the curving head of the central mole (fig.12: rendered in red). This open construction was considered to improve the water flow to some extent, in an attempt to prevent further silting.

In Period 2b, the appearance of the harbour was changed, since the alterations of the harbour constructions in period 1c must have appeared unsatisfactory (see fig.6). Open jetties, consisting of three rows of heavy posts (see  fig.13 and fig.14), replaced most of the moles. A jetty was added to the western mole, at an angle to it and running parallel to the river shore, thus enclosing the `inner harbour'-basin. The central mole, together with the added short jetty, was entirely replaced by a long open jetty, while the eastern jetty was extended into the river. Since the river shore within the defences now was totally open, the fort became dangerously exposed to an eventual attack from the riverside. To counter this weakness somewhat, a new jetty was build outside of, and to the east of, the defences of the fort for use by non-Roman ships, as was the case with the eastern (defended) mole from period 1.


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