During August 2003 a trial excavation was conducted south of Ramla, near the headquarters of the Home-Front Command (Permit No. A3971*; map ref. NIG 18814–35/64705–752; OIG 13814–35/14705–752), after ancient remains were discovered during an antiquities inspection. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by Y. Elisha, with the assistance of S. Ya‘aqov-Jam and E. Bachar (administration), V. Pirsky and V. Essman (surveying), T. Sagiv (photography), L. Kupershmidt (metallurgical laboratory), M. Shuiskaya-Arnov (pottery drawing) and D.T. Ariel (numismatics).
Three squares were opened (Fig. 1).
Square 1. A curved wall (W12; Fig. 2), built of ashlar stones and preserved a single course high, was exposed. The remains of a rectangular foundation (1.17 × 2.00 m, height 0.5 m), built of ashlar stones with gray bonding material, were discovered north of the wall and at a lower elevation. A floor of fieldstones and bonding material (L10; 0.6 × 1.8 m) abutted the foundation on the north. The foundation and the floor were dated to the Early Islamic period, based on the recovered potsherds that included bowls (Fig. 3:1–3), a jar (Fig. 3:4), jugs (Fig. 3:5, 6), a juglet (Fig. 3:7) and a Mafjar-type lamp fragment (Fig. 3:8).
Square 2. An elliptical installation (1.5–1.8 m; Fig. 4), built of fieldstones sunk in the ground and surmounted by a top course that partly consisted of ashlar stones, was exposed. The installation, preserved to a depth of eleven courses (1.1 m), was filled with the remains of bonding material that apparently lined its sides. Potsherds dating to the Early Islamic period were found.
Square 3. The remains of a plaster floor were exposed. A coin and a glass bead were found on the floor. The coin, minted in the city of Balkh (Western Iran), is dated to the first half of the eighth century CE (IAA 97777). The ceramic finds included bowls (Fig. 5:1–3), a cooking pot (Fig. 5:4) and jars (Fig. 5:5, 6), dating to the Early Islamic period.