Phase 1
Three units were exposed; the first included a room and an anteroom, the second consisted of a room adjacent to the eastern side of the first unit and the third comprised a large area that extended north and west of the first unit. The room in the first unit (2.95×3.70 m) was delimited by four walls (north—W1; east—W2; south—W7; west—W3, W5) and the anteroom appended on the south was enclosed within two walls (east—W2; west—W6). The construction of W1 differed from that of W2; it consisted of finely dressed stones placed directly on bedrock (Figs. 2: Section 1-1; 3), whereas W2 was set on a bedding of small stones, which was bonded with gray mortar rich in charcoal grits.
At the junction between the anteroom and the room was an arch whose pillars were exposed in the eastern part of W7 (Figs. 4, 5) and on the side of W2 (Fig. 6). This unit had two entries; the one leading into the room was found between Walls 3 and 5 and the entrance to the anteroom was in the southern part of W2; only its threshold, which consisted of mortar that was placed in a channel dug in the clayey soil, was preserved (Fig. 7).
A floor of tamped earth was located at an elevation of 69.73 m asl and a jar was embedded into it, next to W2 (Fig. 2: Section 1-1).
The second unit, east of W2, was probably another room in the building. Although only a small section was excavated and in the absence of evidence indicating that it was divided, it can be assumed that the room was quite large, like the room in the first unit.
The third unit extended north and west of the first unit (25 sq m) and was enclosed in the west by a wall (W4), alongside which was a hearth (diam. 0.6 m; Fig. 8). It is presumed that this was an open courtyard and the hearth underlines this supposition.
Phase 2
Several modifications were made to the first unit. The room of Phase 1 was divided into two by a wall (W13; Fig. 2), perpendicular to W2. The floor from the first phase continued to be used and above it, a rounded oven (0.5×0.8 m) was built; its opening faced north and it was apparently lined with stones. A semicircular installation (diam. 0.45 m, depth 0.6 m; Figs. 4, 6) was excavated next to the oven and close to the base of the pillar in W2; its upper rim was lined with a single course of stones.
Three walls were built in the third unit: Wall 8, perpendicular to W4; Wall 9, perpendicular to W5; and Wall 10, parallel to Walls 3 and 5, as well as a covered channel (length 2.6 m, width 0.13, depth 0.1 m; Fig. 9), built of two parallel walls (W11, W12) that were topped with small irregular shaped stone slabs. The water in the channel flowed to the east.
The pottery vessels discovered above the floor of the building included deep bowls (Fig. 10:1, 2), bowls (Fig. 10:3, 4), jars (Fig. 10:5–8) and jugs (Fig. 10:9–13). Below the floor were bowls (Fig. 11:1–4), a cooking pot (Fig. 11:5), a jar (Fig. 11:6) and jugs (Fig. 11:7, 8). All the potsherds dated to the Early Islamic period (eighth–tenth centuries CE).
The parts of the building exposed in the excavation belong to a large structure that extended beyond the limits of the excavation and was used in the Early Islamic period (eighth–tenth centuries CE). Based on the scant number of walls discovered in the probe trenches, the building was probably built in an open area and therefore, it can reasonably be assumed that it was a farmhouse or villa, located at the edge of the city of Ramla, close to the farmland that surrounded it.
The building consisted of at least two spacious rooms (the first and second units) and a large courtyard (the third unit) in its first phase; subdivision characterizes the second phase. The large room was divided into two and its southern part was probably a kitchen, as evidenced by the oven built on its floor and the installation next to it, which may have been used as a septic pit. Walls subdividing the courtyard were also built.
The water channel constructed north of the building in Phase 2 was used either to convey rainwater to a cistern or to drain the runoff from the building. Both kinds of channels are known in Ramla during the Early Islamic period.
The picture derived from the excavation is similar to that from other excavations carried out in the eastern parts of Ramla, where aqueducts and intricate water conveyance and storage systems were discovered next to a small number of buildings (Permit No. A-4929).
The building ceased to be used in the eleventh century CE, most likely following the earthquakes that struck the city in 1033 and 1068 CE.