In May and June 2018, a salvage excavation was conducted at the Maccabi compound in Ramla (Permit No. A-8291; map ref. 187403–831/649517–901), prior to construction work. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ministry of Housing and Construction, was directed by R. Toueg (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), O. Danziger (area supervision), E. Haddad (preliminary inspections), M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), I. Reznitsky (coin cleaning), R. Kool (numismatics), R. Berin (final plans), H. Torgë (pottery reading), M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing) and A. Dagot (GPS).
Two archaeological excavations had previously been conducted in the immediate vicinity. One was along the railway, where architectural remains and installations from the Early Islamic period were unearthed (pending publication; Fig. 1: A-4672). The second, conducted prior to the construction of a multilevel interchange, revealed architectural remains from the Abbasid and Fatimid periods (Torgë, Haddad and Toueg 2016
; Fig. 1: A-6093).
Twenty squares were excavated in three areas (A–C; Area C was divided into two sub-areas: C1, C2; Fig. 2), where habitation levels and architectural remains from the Early Islamic period (eighth–eleventh centuries CE) were unearthed.
Area A. Five squares were excavated (depth 0.5 m; Fig. 3), without encountering architectural remains. An archaeological deposit contained several Early Islamic potsherds, for example the bowl in Fig. 4:4.
Area B. Two squares were excavated (depth 0.8 m; Figs. 5, 6). A few Early Islamic potsherds (not drawn) were found in the south square; in the north square, two courses of a wide wall (W203) were detected, although it was only partially excavated. The wall was built of a single row of coarsely dressed stones (stone dimensions 0.1 × 0.1 × 0.2 m). Several Early Islamic potsherds (not drawn) were found beside the wall.
Area C1. Four squares were excavated (depth 1.5 m; Fig. 7), yielding modern refuse mixed with Early Islamic potsherds, and accumulations that contained a few potsherds: an eggshell-type jug with an incised decoration, which was dated to the Fatimid period (Fig. 4:8); two Serçe Liman-type bowls, dated to the eleventh century CE (Fig. 4:3, 5); and a flask (Fig. 4:9).
Area C2. Nine squares were excavated (depth 0.5 m; Figs. 8, 9). A bedding of small fieldstones (L351, L362) was discovered; it probably belonged to a building, but the walls did not survive. The bedding yielded a coin, part of a small silver dirham dating from the reign of the Mamluk ruler al-Naṣir Muḥammad (1310–1341 CE; IAA 168138). A remnant of one of the walls (W363), most of which had been robbed, was identified; the wall segment was built of fieldstones and preserved to a height of two courses. A floor bedding composed of a layer of gravel and broken shells overlain with potsherds was also uncovered, on top of a layer of sand. While excavating a deposit in the southwest square (L360), a fragment of a Serçe Liman bowl from the eleventh century CE was recovered (Fig. 4:2), and the fill beneath it (L364; Fig. 10), which lay on the sterile sand, yielded a fragment of a jar from the Fatimid period (Fig. 4:7). An accumulation in the square immediately to the east (L354) contained a fragment of a Jerusalem Ware-type jar from the second half of the eleventh century CE (Fig. 4:6) and a copper coin dating from the reign of the Mamluk ruler Barquq (1388/9 CE; IAA 168137). An accumulation to the north of the stone foundation (L357) contained a fragment of a bowl with tin glazing—an imitation of Chinese glazing—dating from the second half of the eleventh century CE (Fig. 4:1). Two coins were found in the northwest square (L353): a small Byzantine minimus from the fourth century CE (IAA 168135) and a copper fals from the second half of the fourteenth century CE (IAA 168135).
The paucity of finds indicates that the area lay on the outskirts of the town during the Early Islamic period, and it probably represents the settlement’s northern boundary.