Stratum II. A cistern (L12; diam. 0.9 m; Figs. 3, 4) that was built of small fieldstones and gray mortar was exposed in Square 1. A channel (L15; width 0.16 m, depth 0.14 m), built of small stones and gray mortar mixed with charcoal, led to the cistern; it was coated with pink plaster and covered with stone slabs. This cistern is characteristic of Ramla from the Abbasid until the Mamluk periods. The cistern and the channel contained potsherds from the Abbasid period, including a bowl (Fig. 5:5), cups (Fig. 5:14, 15), a cooking pot lid (Fig. 5:13) and a small bottle (Fig. 5:18).
Two lime floors (L16, L26; Fig. 6) were exposed in Square 2; Floor 26 was c. 0.35 m higher than Floor 16. A fragment of a basalt grinding stone was discovered in situ near Floor 16 (Figs. 7, 8). Another lime floor (L21; Fig. 9), similar in elevation to Floor 26, was exposed in Square 3. Potsherds from the Abbasid period, including a krater (Fig. 5:2), a bowl (Fig. 5:4) and a jug (Fig. 5:16), were discovered above Floors 16, 21 and 26.Potsherds from the Abbasid period, including a krater (Fig. 5:1) and bowls (Fig. 5:9, 12), were found below Floor 16. Other potsherds from this period were scattered in an area that seems to have been disturbed when the tombs were originally dug; these included a krater (Fig. 5:3), bowls (Fig. 5:6–8, 10, 11), a jug (Fig. 5:17) and a juglet (Fig. 5:19).
Stratum I. Complete jars (Figs. 10, 11:1–4) and a single saqiye jar (Fig. 11:5) that dated to the Mamluk period were placed on top of six infants and children graves (L27–32), which were discovered in Squares 3 and 4. The graves, penetrating into Stratum II, dated to the Late Mamluk period (fourteenth–fifteenth centuries CE). Some of the graves were disturbed and in the undamaged graves, the deceased were interred in primary burial, aligned east–west, with the head in the west and facing south—a typical Muslim funerary position.
A similar phenomenon of burials beneath jars in the Late Mamluk and the beginning of the Ottoman periods was discovered in the vicinity of Kafr ‘Ana (Or Yehuda), Azor, Tel Aviv, Nes Ziyyona and Ge’alya (HA-ESI
115, HA-ESI 121).
A. Gorzalczany (Levant
39:71–79) suggests that this phenomenon should be attributed to a foreign population (Turkmen) who arrived from somewhere else, settled in the region and developed a unique set of funerary traditions.
Poorly preserved human bones were discovered in the graves at the site. The bones were examined in the excavation area and not removed.
T27. Bone fragments of a cranial vault, teeth and postcranial bones were discovered. The bones were anatomically articulated, indicating primary burial. An upper deciduous molar had a closed root; a lower premolar was developed to the point of a partial crown only. Based on the development of the teeth, the age of the deceased is estimated at 2–4 years.
T30. Bone fragments of a cranial vault and part of a vertebra were discovered. The skull is relatively thin and small, probably that of a child. The deceased is estimated to be less than 15 years of age.
T28. A fragment of a cranial vault, a rib fragment and teeth were discovered. The bones were moved from their original location and it was impossible to reconstruct the position of interment. An upper second deciduous molar was developed to the point of a crown and half a root. Based on the development of the tooth, the age of the deceased is estimated at 0.5–2.0 years. No porousness of the orbital roof (cribra orbitalia) was found on one side; the other side was not examined.
T29. Bone fragments of a cranial vault, teeth and postcranial bones of a child were discovered. The bones were anatomically articulated, which is indicative of a primary burial. Deciduous molars in place, a permanent lower first molar, developed to the point of a crown and the beginning of a root, an upper premolar and a permanent upper middle incisor, developed to the point a complete crown. Based on the development of the teeth, the age of the deceased is estimated at 3–4 years.
T31. A fragment of a cranial vault, ribs and teeth were discovered. The bones were anatomically articulated, which is indicative of a primary burial. First and second deciduous lower molars show only enamel erosion; the roots are closed. Based on the development of the teeth and their wear, the age of the deceased is estimated at 1.5–4.0 years.