Numerous ancient remains had been exposed in previous excavations in the northwestern part of Ramla (Fig. 1). During 2002–2003, archaeological excavations to the south of the White Mosque revealed an urban sequence extending from the eighth to the eleventh centuries CE (HA-ESI 120). Remains of a cemetery that dated to the Early Islamic period were discovered in an excavation on Bialik Street (HA-ESI 120) and other remains from the Early Islamic period were uncovered in an excavation on Smolenskin Street (HA-ESI 120). Wall remains of a residential structure, plaster floors and water systems ascribed to the Abbasid period were discovered in an excavation in the old courthouse compound, northwest of the Pool of the Arches (HA-ESI 118). Sections of buildings and floors dating to the Early Islamic period were exposed in an excavation on Herzl Street (HA-ESI 121) and in another excavation on Herzl Street, remains of a building, fragments of pottery vessels and installations from the Early Islamic period were uncovered (HA-ESI 121). An excavation on Smolenskin Street in 2007 exposed meager architectural remains, indicative of habitation or agricultural activity during the Abbasid period (HA-ESI 121).
The area in the current excavation was cleared down to the top of the ancient remains (0.3 m below the surface), with the aid of mechanical equipment. A single excavation square was subsequently opened and remains of two strata that date to the Early Islamic period were exposed (Fig. 2).
Stratum II. Two phases (B, A) were identified in this stratum. Two gray plaster floors (L106, L107) were exposed below two floors of plaster and small fieldstones (L103, L104). The two floor levels were separated by light brown soil fill (thickness 0.2 m; Fig. 3). Floors 104 and 106 abutted a covered water channel (L102; length c. 2 m, width 0.3 m) from the southwest, which was also abutted from the northeast by Floors 103 and 107. The channel, oriented northwest-southeast, was built of small fieldstones, coated with gray plaster and covered with medium-sized fieldstones (Fig. 4). The channel may have been used for either irrigation or sewage, or for draining and conveying water to a nearby cistern, which was not located due to the limitations of the excavation (Fig. 5). Part of a semicircular tabun (L105), which was abutted by Floor 104 from the late Phase A of Stratum II, was exposed in the western corner of the square.
Probes (L108, L111) were excavated below Floors 106 and 107; sterile soil devoid of any archaeological finds was exposed at the bottom Probe 108.
The ceramic finds from Stratum II are common to the local material culture in the Early Islamic period (tenth century CE) and include painted and glazed table ware, such as bowls (Fig. 6:1–9), plain bowls (Fig. 6:10–12), kraters decorated with a wavy combed lines (Fig. 6:13, 14), jugs (Fig. 6:15–18) and ceramic wedges used to support vessels in a pottery kiln (Figs. 6:19; 7), which allude to the nearby presence of a pottery workshop.
Stratum I. A section of a stone pavement (L100), composed of small and medium fieldstones and gray mortar (Fig. 8), was exposed in the south of the square. Due to the pavement’s proximity to the surface, it was poorly preserved.
The finds from the excavation are similar to those of the previous nearby excavations and indicate that the region was apparently only inhabited from the Abbasid period.