Two tamped-earth floors (L107, L108; Fig. 2) placed on a bedding of fieldstones without mortar were exposed (L109, L111; Figs. 3, 4). Bedding 111 abutted the northern side of a wall (W112), from which only two stones were exposed. Three copper coins dating from the Mamluk period (end of the fourteenth century–beginning of the fifteenth century CE; IAA 157641–157643) and two coins that could not be identified were discovered while excavating Floor 107. Two jars (Fig. 5:20, 21), also dated to the Mamluk period, were also found. The excavation of Floor 108 yielded two copper coins that date from the Mamluk period (IAA 157644, 157645). Bedding 109 was laid on an earlier plaster floor (L113; Fig. 6), which was only partially excavated. No architectural remains were discovered in the rest of the squares; however, soil accumulations (L100–L106) covering the natural sand (L110) included pottery sherds dated to the Mamluk period. A fals from the Mamluk period (end of the fourteenth century–early fifteenth century CE; IAA 157636) was found in Accumulation 101, and two Mamluk coins were recovered from Accumulation 102: a fals of Sultan Shaʽaban II that was minted in Damascus (1366–1377 CE; IAA 157637) and a fals of Sultan Barquq (1389–1398 CE; IAA 157638). Two coins (IAA 157639, 157640) of these sultans were also found in Accumulation 105.
Pottery sherds from the Mamluk period were found, including a bowl with a mustard monochrome glaze (Fig. 5:1), a bowl with a yellow monochrome glaze (Fig. 5:2), a bowl with a green monochrome glaze (Fig. 5:3), a bowl with lustrous light green glaze with a dark green stripe on the inside of the rim and yellow-green glaze on the outside (Fig. 5:4), a common glazed bowl bearing yellow on brown and green stripes on the inside and yellow on the outside (Fig. 5:5), a geometric ware bowl (Fig. 5:6), a plain, locally produced bowl (Fig. 5:7), a frit (Soft Paste Ware) bowl from the thirteenth–fourteenth centuries (Fig. 5:8), a bowl with light colored stripes overlain with a yellow glaze (Fig. 5:9), a krater (Fig. 5:10), a hand-made krater decorated with finger impressions on the rim (Fig. 5:11), another hand-made krater (Fig. 5:12), a shallow krater with sgraffito overlaid with a green alkaline glaze (Fig. 5:13), mold-made chalices glazed a variety of colors, including mustard-yellow (Fig. 5:14), brown-yellow (Fig. 5:15), light green (Fig. 5:16), dark green (Fig. 5:17) and jars (Fig. 5:18–21).
Metal Artifacts
Nitzan Amitai-Preiss
Two pieces of bronze (L102; Fig. 7) were found: one is small and one is medium-sized and pendant-shaped, possibly the debris of a workshop where bronze vessels were either produced or recycled. Evidence of the manufacture of metal vessels was found in previous excavations in Ramla, for example, in H. Torgë’s excavation near the railroad tracks, wherein a metal workshop including a smelting furnace was discovered (Gorzalczany 2014:97; Torgë, Haddad and Toueg 2016; Fig. 1: A-6903). Two meters away, in O. Sion’s excavation, possible evidence of copper smelting used in the production of copper vessels was found. This interpretation was based on the sediment that remained in several crucibles discovered in the excavation (Permit No. A-4929; O. Sion and S. Shalev, pers. comm.). The finds revealed in some excavations are insufficient to determine whether these were workshops where vessels were produced or were smelted in secondary use (Gorzalczany 2014:96). A 2001 study of the production of metal vessels at a workshop in the Old Fish Market in Cairo showed that the three techniques utilized to make the metal vessels discovered in the Caesarea cache—forging, lost-wax casting and sand-casting—were still used in this workshop (Shalev and Freund 2002:29). It is most probable that these same techniques were used to make the metal tools found in Ramla.
Remains ascribed to the Mamluk period were unearthed in the excavation at the corner of Tel Hai and Herzl Streets and in other excavations in the vicinity. These finds indicate that this part of Ramla was inhabited during the Mamluk period, when it was reconstructed after the devastating earthquake that struck in 1068 CE. The Mamluk city was developed east of the Abbasid and Fatimid city center, and as far as we know, it was much smaller than the previous city.
No building remains from the Ottoman period were found; however, several fragments of black Gaza jars were collected. The Ottoman remains may have been removed during modern development, such as the removal of c. 1.5 m of the surface level. Particularly noteworthy among the pottery vessels recovered in the excavation are the plain bowls of poor and medium quality craftsmanship, the absence of cooking pots and the small amount of kraters.