Palmer thought the name Amka to come from the Arabic form of “deep”,
while Ringgren suggested that the name preserves the name of Beth Ha-Emek, a city mentioned in Joshua 19:27 as part of the allotment of the Tribe of Asher.
During the Roman period, the village located at the same site was called Kefar Amqa. In the Byzantine period the location was probably identified with the village of "Amico".
In the early 18th century the village was under control of Shaykh Najm. He had an agreement to sell the cotton from this and other villages under his control exclusively to the Dutch trader Paul Maashook. In return, Maashook would pay the miri (tax slated for funding the annual Hajj caravan), which was normally payable by the village shaykhs (chiefs). The Syrian Sufi teacher and traveler Mustafa al-Bakri al-Siddiqi (1688–1748/9), who traveled through the region in the first half of the 18th century, said that he prayed in the village after visiting the citadel of Atlit. In 1776 the village was used as a base by Ahmad Pasha al-Jazzar to suppress a revolt led by Ali al-Zahir, one of the sons of Sheikh Zahir al-Umar, who ruled the Galilee between 1730 and 1775.
Excavations in Amka
A map by Pierre Jacotin from Napoleon's invasion of 1799 showed the place, misnamed as El Mead, In the late 19th century, the village was described as being built of stone, situated on a slight rise in a valley, surrounded by olive and fig trees, and arable land. There were an estimated 300 Druze living there. Later, the residents were described as Muslims who maintained a village mosque. In 1887, the Ottoman authorities built a school in ´Amqa.
A population list from about 1887 showed that Amka had about 740 inhabitants, all Muslim.
In 1945 the population of Amqa was 1,240 Muslims, with over 6,000 dunums (1,500 acres) of land according to an official land and population survey. Of this, 1,648 dunams were plantations and irrigable land; 3,348 used for cereals, while 36 dunams were built-up (urban) land.
The village was captured by Israel's 7th Brigade on 16 July 1948 during Operation Dekel. It was largely destroyed, with the exception of its school and its mosque, and most of its inhabitants were expelled, with the exception of its former Druze inhabitants, who still live nearby. Some of the inhabitants remained in Israel as present absentees. On 1 March 1949 a UN observer reported villagers from 'Amqa amongst a large group of people expelled by the IDF which arrived at Salim in the West Bank. He also noted other villagers from 'Amqa in a group expelled on 26 March. In February 1950, the village was declared a closed area. The Arab population remained under Martial Law until 1966.
Three khirbas (archaeological ruins) lay within Amka's vicinity and contain the foundations of buildings, well-chiseled building stones, presses, and a cistern. During archaeological searches of the area remnants of a Byzantine church were discovered but due to the destruction of the village no foundations could be established. The Amka mosque was inspected by Petersen in 1991. The date of the mosque construction is not known, but it bears a general similarity to the nearby mosque of al-Ghabisiyya, and is probably of a similar age, i.e. early 19th century.
^Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 80Archived 2018-09-15 at the Wayback Machine
^Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 130Archived 2018-09-15 at the Wayback Machine
^Charles S. Kamen (1987). "After the Catastrophe I: The Arabs in Israel, 1948-51". Middle Eastern Studies. 23 (4): 453–495. doi:10.1080/00263208708700721.; Sabri Jiryis (1973). "The Legal Structure for the Expropriation and Absorption of Arab Lands in Israel". Journal of Palestine Studies. 2 (4): 82–104. doi:10.1525/jps.1973.2.4.00p0099c.