During April 2011, a salvage excavation was conducted in Ramla, between Ta’avura Junction (Ma‘asiyahu) and the Ramla-North Junction, south of and parallel to Road 44 (Permit No. A-6161; map ref. 18818–28/64876–87; Fig. 1), due to improvements to the railroad track. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Israel Railways Company, Ltd., was directed by V. Eshed, with the assistance of I. Kornfeld (preliminary inspections), Y. Amrani (administration), H. Torge (pottery) and M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing).
A previous excavation was conducted north of Ta‘avura Junction (HA-ESI 121
); graves dating to the Early Islamic period that likely indicate the boundaries of the Umayyad city to their south and west were exposed, as well as later architectural remains that allude to the rapid expansion of Ramla in the Abbasid period.
Two areas were opened in the current excavation. Three plastered floors were found in the single square opened in Area B, which was located northwest of Ta’avura Junction and south of the Paz gas station on Road 44; a plastered pit and a plastered reservoir filled by way of a ceramic pipe were found in the two squares opened in Area C, which was located south of the Ramla-North Junction and c. 50 m west of the gas station. Remains dating to the Abbasid period (ninth–tenth centuries CE) were uncovered in the two areas.
Area B. Three sections of plaster floors were discovered c. 1.4 m below the current ground level (Fig. 2). Several layers of plaster (thickness c. 0.1 m) were discerned in the western floor section and to its west, an in situ fieldstone (length 1 m, width 0.5 m, height 0.5 m), possibly the remains of an east–west aligned wall, was discovered. Other fieldstones were also found but were not in situ (Fig. 3).
Fragments of pottery vessels dating to the Abbasid period were found on the floors, including yellow (Fig. 4:1) green (Fig. 4:3) and dark green (Fig. 4:4) glazed bowls, splash glazed bowls (Fig. 4:2, 5), a brown glazed fry pan (Fig. 4:6), a jug (Fig. 4:8) and a lamp (Fig. 4:9); the latter two are made of buff ware.
rea C. A section of a terra-cotta pipe that extended in an east–west direction (L201; diam. c. 8 cm; Fig. 5) was exposed in the east of the area. The northwestern part of a plastered reservoir was excavated west of the pipe. The reservoir was delimited by walls located to the west (W203) and north (W200). Wall 200 was inclined to the north and it seems that a vault that covered the reservoir was constructed above it. The walls were built of fieldstones (0.5×0.5×0.5 m) and gray mortar. On the western side of W203 was a plastered pit (L202; diam. c. 1 m) lined with potsherds. The pipe apparently conveyed water to the reservoir and the plastered pit was also part of the water installation.
A krater (Fig. 4:7) dating to the Abbasid period was found next to W202.
The finds show that during the Abbasid period the city of Ramla had expanded to include the region of the current excavation.