During September 2007, a trial excavation was conducted in Ramla, east ofthe Ta‘avura Junction (Permit No. A-5246; map ref. 18898–911/64831–40), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Ta‘avura Company, Ltd., was directed by D. Masarwa, with the assistance of R. Abu Halaf (administration), Y. Moyal (preliminary inspections), M. Kunin (surveying), T. Kornfeld (drafting), M. Shuiskaya (finds drawing) and M. Sadeh (archaeozoology).
A kiln and a roadbed that dated to the Early Islamic period had been discovered northwest of the excavation area in the past (Permit no. A-4740). Another excavation at the site revealed installations and a monumental inscription that mentioned the building of a bridge (HA-ESI 121 A-5296).
A single excavation square was opened and another section of the roadbed, indicating it continued eastward, was discovered.
A foundation layer of small fieldstones (L102; thickness 0.4–0.5 m; Figs. 1, 2) was exposed c. 1.3 m below surface. The foundation layer was deposited on a layer of dark hamra soil (thickness 0.1 m), which overlaid a clean sandy layer devoid of finds. Medium-sized fieldstones and wadi pebbles that had been placed on top of the foundation layer were exposed in the southwestern half of the square.
Fragments of pottery vessels that dated to the Early Islamic period (eighth–tenth centuries CE) were recovered from the foundation layer, including bowls (Fig. 3:1, 2), a krater decorated with band combing (Fig. 3:3), a buff-ware jug (Fig. 3:4) and a jug handle decorated with a flattened button-like plastic ornamentation (Fig. 3:5).
Among the discovered animal bones were those of sheep and goat (N=19), domesticated horse (N=16), cattle (N=3) and an unidentified fowl (N=1), as well as the burial of a bovine head (Fig. 4).