During February 2004 a salvage excavation was conducted in the vicinity of Birkat el-Jamus in Ramla (Permit No. A-4100*; map ref. NIG 18814–35/64705–51; OIG 13814–35/14705–51), finishing the excavation that had begun by Y. Elisha in August 2003 (Permit No. A-3971) and prior to construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ministry of Construction and Housing, was directed by I. Korenfeld, with the assistance of A. Bachar (administration), V. Essman, V. Pirsky and T. Kornfeld (surveying), T. Sagiv (photography) and M. Shuiskaya-Arnov (pottery drawing).
The site, located east of the Old City of Ramla, lies in an area of cultivated farmland and is poorly preserved. Three excavation squares (A–C; c. 75 sq m), spread out over an area of c. 2 dunams, were opened. The finds in the three squares were uncovered in a single stratum and included building remains, installations and ceramic finds that dated from the Late Byzantine period until the Early Islamic period.
(Fig. 1). An oval installation (1.5 × 1.8 m), built of small fieldstones and gray bonding material, was exposed. Its walls, preserved 11 courses high (1.1 m), were dug into the ground. Fragments of pottery vessels that dated to the Byzantine period were found next to the installation. Some 50 m to the north, another similar installation was excavated in the past by Y. Elisha (Permit No. A-4090), who dated it to the Byzantine period.
(Fig. 2). An oval installation (1.6 × 1.8 m), similar to the one in Square A, yet in a better state of preservation, was exposed beneath a plastered floor, survived by only a few pieces. It was also built of fieldstones and gray bonding material, preserved 15 courses high and the opening in its upper side was smaller than the one in the installation in Square A. The ceramic finds below the floor and inside the installation dated to the Late Byzantine or the Early Islamic period and included a cup (Fig. 4:1), a krater (Fig. 4:2) and jars (Fig. 4:3–5).
(Fig. 3). The remains of a wall (W105), built of small fieldstones and gray bonding material and preserved a single course high (0.4 m; 0.2 m wide), were exposed. The bedding of a floor (L106) composed of wadi pebbles and bonding material mixed with potsherds from the Late Byzantine period abutted the wall. South of W106, the remains of another wall were found, also built of fieldstones (not drawn). These remains were probably the foundations of an ancient building.
The two oval installations are probably septic pits based on their shape and the black soil that included organic material found in them. They yielded no datable artifacts and have no comparisons dating to the Byzantine period (except for the installation uncovered in the trial excavation of Y. Elisha). The ceramic finds recovered from the vicinity are dated to the Late Byzantine or Early Islamic periods. A pipe fragment of gray clay (Fig. 4:6), dating to the eighteenth century CE, was found close to surface in Square B.