A salvage excavation was conducted in October 1999 between Balfour and the Jewish Brigade Streets in Ramla (A-3118
*; map ref. NIG 18800–15/64840–65; OIG 13800–15/14840–65). The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by E. Kogan-Zehavi, with the assistance of A. Hajian (surveying), N. Zak (drafting), T. Sagiv (photography), A. Pikovsky (drawing of finds) and M. Avissar (pottery reading).
The excavation took place in the area of a nursery school. After removing debris and the remains of a modern building (depth 1.6 m), a single excavation square (5
× 6 m; Fig. 1) was opened. A stone-built column (L111) was discovered in the middle of the square, along with several floors and walls. The remains belonged to three strata, some of which had subphases. Stratum 1 was the earliest and it predated the construction of the column; Stratum 2 dated to the time of the column’s construction and Stratum 3 was dated to the time when repairs to the column were carried out. Three sections (a–c) were excavated in the square, to date the remains. The finds from Strata 1 and 2 dated to the 8th–9th centuries CE and those from Stratum 3—to the 9th–12th centuries CE.
included a small segment of a crushed-limestone floor (L312), which was preserved north of the column and was damaged during its construction. Below the floor were ceramic finds, dating to the second half of the 8th century and the beginning of the 9th century CE (Fig. 2:14). A conduit built of dressed stones and covered with stone slabs (Loci 130, 206; 0.5 × 1.0 m) was exposed in the west of the square; only a small section of it was preserved, as it too was damaged when the column was constructed. The conduit yielded two lamps (Fig. 2:15, 16) and fragments of pottery vessels from the end of the 8th and beginning of the 9th centuries CE. Below the column (Loci 127, 207) was a gray soil fill and numerous fragments of pottery vessels, dating from the end of the 8th and beginning of the 9th centuries CE (Fig. 2: 1, 2, 5, 13).
. The column was built of dry construction (0.7 × 1.0 m, height 3 m), using elongated stones; some of them were partially dressed. A gray-plaster floor (L307; thickness 0.3 m), some 0.5 m higher than Floor 312, abutted the column on the south. Ceramic finds upon Floor 307 dated from the end of the 8th century and the first half of the 9th century CE (Fig. 2:8, 9, 12), including a complete lamp (Fig. 2:17) and a basalt basin (Fig. 2:18). The ceramic finds below the floor were contemporary with those on the floor. Another light-gray plaster floor (L125) that contained white gravel (thickness c.
5 cm) was attributed to this stratum; segments of it were uncovered in the northern and southern parts of the square. It was 0.8 m above Floor 307 and abutted the southern side of the column. A low stone wall (W10; width 0.4 m, height 0.3 m) coated with the same plaster delineated the eastern side of the floor. The robber trench of a wall (L122) marked the western margin of the floor, which together with the two walls may have been part of a plastered installation. Ceramic finds below Floor 125 were dated to the first half of the 9th century CE (Fig. 2:3, 10, 11). Potsherds of similar dates were recovered from below the robber trench (Fig. 2:4, 6, 7).
shows repairs that were performed on the column and the two floors that abutted it (Loci 104, 105). The top of the column was widened and raised with the construction of large fieldstones that were reinforced with gray cement and small stones. This activity was apparently carried out so that the column could be used as a foundation for the building constructed above it. Floor 104, which abutted the column on all sides, was a gray-plastered floor that overlaid a bed of wadi pebbles and fieldstones. Potsherds (Fig. 3:1–3, 6, 7, 10–14) dating to the second half of the 9th century and the 10th century CE were found
above and below the floor, as well as a stone vessel (Fig. 3:15) above the floor. The gray-plastered Floor 105 abutted the column on the south; a section of it was also traced on the eastern side. It superposed Floor 104, negating it. Above Floor 105 were ceramic finds that dated to the 11th– 12th centuries CE (Fig. 3:5, 9). A circular surface constructed from medium-sized fieldstones (L109) was built above Floor 105 in the eastern part of the square; it may have been part of a sewage pit. Above the surface were fragments of pottery vessels, the latest among them dated to the 11th and 12th centuries CE (Fig. 3:4, 8). The foundation of a wall (W1; width 0.5 m) built of dressed stones and preserved a single course high adjoined the stone surface on the north.