During September 2008, a salvage excavation was conducted at 1 Nehemiah Street in Ramla (Permit No. A-5526; map ref. 187564–89/647829–56), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by ‘Abd Abu ‘Amer, Esq., was directed by J. Marcus, with the assistance of the late S. Ya‘aqov-Jam (administration), A. Hajian, T. Kornfeld and B. Antin (surveying), A. Dagot (GPS), L. Yihye (probe trenches), T. Sagiv (field photography), M. Shuiskaya (drawing), P. Gendelman, U. ‘Ad and L. Rauchberger (ceramic consultation) and laborers from Kafr Qari.
The Abbasid-period remains included three walls of a building (W10, W11, W13) and two pits (L108, L109; Fig. 1).The building’s walls were founded on the surface, which gently slopes from west to east.Wall 11 abutted Wall 10 from the east and Wall 13 adjoined Wall 11 from the west.The walls, preserved three courses high, formed a room that covered most of the southern part of the excavation area (L102; Fig. 2).The walls were built of partially dressed limestone, without mortar.The bottom course of W10 was placed on a layer of plaster or white lime mixed with soil (fill from the foundation trench?);a thin layer of white lime was also applied to the stones of the bottom course (Fig. 3).The fill alongside the walls (Loci 102 and 103) yielded a considerable quantity of potsherds that mostly consisted of tableware that dated to the ninth–tenth centuries CE and included glazed bowls (Fig. 4:1–5), among them buff ware (Fig. 4:1), a krater (Fig. 4:6), cooking pots (not drawn), jars (Fig. 4:7), buff-ware jugs (not drawn) and a lamp (Fig. 4:8).These finds indicate that the building was used as a dwelling.A plaster floor that abutted the upper course of W10 was exposed in the square’s southern balk; nevertheless, it seems that the floor belonged to the modern building.
Pit 108, which may have been a cistern, was exposed next to the northern section of the square. Two dressed rectangular limestone blocks covered the square opening of the pit (0.4×0.4 m; Fig. 5), which was built of partially dressed limestone. A scant amount of worn potsherds that dated to the ninth–tenth centuries CE was found above the covering stones.The interior of the pit, also lined with roughly hewn limestone, was only partly excavatedandno remains of plaster were evident on the sides of the cleared part.The pit was wider than its opening, although its precise dimensions are not known.A floor of gray plaster mixed with particles of charcoal (L110) that overlaid a foundation of small stones (L111) abutted the opening.A ceramic pipe that may have been used to fill the pit was discovered in the southwestern corner of the opening.Pit 109 (exposed length c. 1 m, width 0.5 m, exposed depth 0.43 m; Fig. 5) was discoveredc. 0.5 m to the south; it was probably used as a cesspit or for some other form of water drainage.
The pit, which was only partly excavated, had the shape of an irregular diagonal shaft with a sloping bottom. Fieldstones were used to line the pit and traces of plaster mixed with the soil fill were discerned on its sides. A ceramic pipe was discovered in the southern part of the pit. It extended at an angle through the wall and into the pit. A few worn potsherds, ascribed to the ninth–tenth centuries CE, were found in the pit. Although the pits were close to each other, they are not connected and the stratigraphic relationship between them and the building is unclear.
In light of the finds from previous excavations in the area, the residential building and the two pits can be attributed to a settlement from the Late Abbasid period, which extended across this part of the city.