In February 2016, a trial excavation was conducted on Ben-Gurion Street in Ramla (Permit No. A-7624; map ref. 186767-82/647938-44; Fig. 1), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by Krishan Architects, was directed by D. Masarwa (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), H. Ben-Ari (GPS), M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), P. Gendelman (scientific consultation), H. Torgë (pottery reading and consultation) and M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing).
The excavation area was in the southwestern part of the city. Previous archaeological excavations in the vicinity of the site revealed remains from the Early Islamic period (eighth–early tenth centuries CE), as well as clay kiln bars from a pottery workshop that probably operated in the area (Kletter 2005
; Vitto 2005; Oren 2011; Toueg 2011; Eshed 2015).
One square was opened, exposing two strata dating to the end of the Abbasid period and the Fatimid period (Fig. 2).
Stratum II (Fig. 3). Remains of a wall (W101) and a floor (L112) were discerned. The wall, oriented north–south, was constructed of small fieldstones bonded with pale gray mortar; it survived to a height of just one course. Floor 112 abutted the wall from the west. It was made of plaster and merely a small section was preserved. A channel (L111; width 0.1 m) running east–west was incorporated in the floor. The ceramic artifacts recovered from this stratum included glazed bowls (Fig. 4:1–4) dating throughout the tenth century CE.
Stratum I (Fig. 5). A wall stub (W104) oriented east–west was exposed. A floor consisting of small fieldstones (L105), incorporating stones from the earlier wall (W101), was constructed north of W104. A square pillar (L102) that may have been a column base was uncovered east of W104, and north of the pillar were meager remains of a floor that was similar to Floor 105. Between the two floors was a drainage channel (L107; length 0.9 m, width 0.15 m, depth 0.15 m) that ran from the northeast to the southwest, toward a pit (L108; 0.35 × 0.40 m). South of W104 was another drainage channel (L110) that apparently led to the south, probably toward a cesspit (L109; 0.7 × 1.3 m) built of small and medium-sized fieldstones and gray mortar. The cesspit was covered with a vault built of medium-sized fieldstones, of which only three stones bonded with gray mortar were preserved. The ceramic finds identified from this stratum included glazed bowls (Fig. 4:4–7), a krater (Fig. 4:8), a jar (Fig. 4:9) and jugs (Fig. 4:10, 11), all dating to the Fatimid period (second half of the tenth–eleventh centuries CE).
The excavation exposed remains belonging to two periods in Ramla’s urban sequence: the Fatimid period (second half of the tenth–eleventh centuries CE—Stratum I) and the Late Abbasid period (tenth century CE—Stratum II). The remains in both strata are probably part of an entrance to a residential building to the south of which was a courtyard with a cesspit. No remains were discovered east of the pillar or south of the cesspit.
Eshed V. 2015. Ramla, Ben-Gurion Street. HA-ESI 127
Kletter R. 2005. Early Islamic Remains at ‘Opher Park, Ramla. ‘Atiqot 49:57–99.
Vitto F. 2005. Ramla. HA-ESI 117.