During April 2005, a trial excavation was conducted on Ha-Hagana Street in Ramla, at Beit Abu al-Hada (Permit No. A-4442*; map ref. NIG 1882–3/6483–4; OIG 1382–3/1483–4), after antiquities were uncovered during an archaeological inspection. The excavation, carried out on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and sponsored by the Municipality of Ramla, was directed by A. Bouchenino, with the assistance of T. Kornfeld (surveying), T. Sagiv (field photography), E. Hadad (archaeological inspection), E. Belashov and N. Zak (drafting), C. Amit (studio photography), O. Shorr (pottery restoration), M. Shuiskaya (drawing of finds), Y. Barshak (photographic archive), and E. Ayalon of the Eretz Israel Museum (consultation).
Two archaeological excavations were conducted in 2005 next to the current excavation (HA-ESI 118
; Permit No. A-4356; Fig. 1).
Two squares (A, B; 3 × 5 m) were opened c. 200 m east of the Pool of the Arches. The exposed building remains, dated to the Early Islamic period (eighth–tenth centuries CE), were severely damaged by infrastructure work.
A floor section of a plastered installation (L106; Fig. 2) was ascribed to the early phase. The installation was destroyed during development work and therefore, its purpose could not be discerned.
A layer of small fieldstones (L105; Fig. 3), which separated the plastered installation from Wall 12, was ascribed to the intermediate phase. It seems the installation had been intentionally filled with small fieldstones.
The late phase consisted of a northeast–southwest oriented wall segment (W12; length 0.7 m, width 0.8 m), which was built of debesh and poorly preserved (Fig. 4). Wall 12 probably belonged to a building from the Ottoman period. A small ceramic water-pipe fragment (diam. 0.1 m, length 0.5 m) that served as a gutter was affixed to the upper part of W12 by means of lime mortar mixed with ash.
A floor section of a plastered installation (L206; Fig. 2), poorly preserved due to development work, was ascribed to the early phase. Embedded into the floor, which had been repaired several times, was a large storage jar (Figs. 5:18; 7) probably used as a gutter or pipe for conveying liquids. The extensive destruction in this square made it difficult to assess the purpose of the installation.
A layer of small fieldstones (L204; Fig. 3) that separated the floor of the plastered installation from Wall 11 was ascribed to the intermediate phase. It seems that the installation was intentionally filled with small fieldstones. Two courses of small fieldstones, possibly part of a wall (W10; length 0.7 m, width 0.5 m) that was oriented southeast–northwest, were revealed in the southwestern corner of the square.
Several dressed stones (W11; length 1.4 m, width 0.7 m; Fig. 4), oriented northeast–southwest, were ascribed to the late phase. The wall probably belonged to a building from the Ottoman period that was severely damaged by the development work.
The ceramic finds from both squares included bowls (Fig. 5:1–6), glazed bowls (Fig. 5:7), a deep bowl (Fig. 5:9), a platter (Fig. 5:8) that imitates a hammered metal platter, cooking pots (Fig. 5:10–14), jars (Fig. 5:15–18), a jar stopper (Fig. 5:19), jugs of buff-colored fabric (Fig. 6:20, 21), an amphoriskos (Fig. 6:22) and fragments of kiln bars that were used as spacers during the firing of pottery (Fig 6:23–26; F. Vitto, Ramla, HA-ESI 117; Stern E.J. 1995. An Early Islamic Kiln in Tiberias. ‘Atiqot 26:57–59). The finds dated the building remains to the Early Islamic period (eighth–tenth centuries CE).
The extensive damage to the exposed architectural remains made it difficult to understand their purpose. The two principal features were the floors of two plastered installations whose function is unclear. They could have been vats for storing water, needed for the pottery production process that was carried out nearby. The presence of a potter’s kiln in the vicinity is indicated by the large number of kiln bars that were used in the firing chamber of the kiln.