In July 2013, a salvage excavation was conducted on Shimshon Ha-Gibor Street in Ramla (Permit No. A-6815; map ref. 184403–7393/648197–206) after ancient remains were damaged while digging a trench to install a water pipeline. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ramla Water Corporation, was directed by R. Toueg, with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), M. Kahan (surveying), A. Peretz (field photography), E. Belashov (drafting), Y. Gorin-Rosen (glass) and C. Amit (studio photography).
In the current excavation, a single square was opened: a trench dug where the antiquities were damaged and an extension westward (Fig. 2). Architectural remains were exposed and two strata dating to the Abbasid–Fatimid periods (eighth–eleventh centuries CE) were identified.
Stratum II (Abbasid period; late eighth–ninth centuries CE). A wall (W2) of dry construction, built of two adjacent rows of smooth stones was preserved three courses high. The wall continued south, beyond the limits of the excavation area. Two superimposed floors built of fine-quality plaster abutted the western face of W2 (L102, L103; Fig. 2). Pottery sherds dating to the ninth–tenth centuries CE were collected from the excavation of the floors and the fill beneath them (Fig. 3).
Stratum I (Fatimid period; tenth–eleventh centuries CE). Wall 2 was dismantled to a height of three courses, and was covered by a floor (L101). A new wall (W1) was built to the east of W2, apparently diagonally to it; it was damaged during the installation of the water pipe and only a single course was preserved. Floor 101 abutted the western face of W1 (Figs. 2, 4). Only its fine-quality foundation survived: of rubble (debesh) construction bonded with white mortar containing ash and olive pits. The foundation covered the remains of W2 and Floor 102. A layer of light pink plaster, visible only in the western section of the square, was applied over of the floor foundation. The plaster was waterproof, suggesting that this might have been the floor of an installation used to store liquids. The floor and its foundation were covered with a layer of surface accumulation (L100). Pottery that does not postdate the Fatimid period was collected from the excavation of the floor and topsoil. These include two glazed bowls (Fig. 5:1, 2), a jar (Fig. 5:3) and a jug (Fig. 5:4) dating to the Abbasid period, and a bowl with glaze applied to a white slip (Fig. 5:5) dating to the Fatimid period.
A lump of light blue raw glass covered with sandy silverish weathering was found in the excavation. It is triangular in section and naturally broken (max. length 3 cm, width 2.5 cm, height 2 cm; Fig. 6). The quality and hue of the item suggest that it should be attributed to the glass industry that predate the Abbasid period, when the composition of glass was changed, thus altering the color and nature of the glass. Lumps such at this were meant to be melted in a kiln in order to prepare glassware and glass objects, and they were sold by weight to glass craftsmen. Industrial glass debris was found in several excavations throughout Ramla. This glass lump contributes to our cumulative knowledge regarding the distribution of remains of glass industry in the city of Ramla.