Room A. Remains of a wall (W108) contained a few preserved stones; small fieldstones were uncovered in its robber trench. The wall continues northward, beyond the excavation area.A plaster floor (L110) was encountered to the east of the wall, but it was not excavated.
Room B (Fig. 3), to the west of Room A, is delimited on the east by W108 and on the west by a robber trench (L120). The wall continues northward, beyond the excavation area. Two phases of flooring were revealed: the early phase comprised a plaster floor (L118; not excavated) that abutted W108 and the robber trench; in the later phase, the floor level of the room was raised with a soil fill overlain with a plaster floor (L109).
Room C, to the west of Room B, was delimited to the east by Robber Trench 120, to the west by another robber trench (L126; not excavated) and to the north by what was probably a wall that was not fully preserved (W102; Fig. 2: Section 1–1). Scant remains of a plaster floor (L124) extending southward, beyond the limits of the excavation, were also unearthed.
Room D (Fig. 4) was delimited to the east by Robber Trench 126, to the west by another robber trench (L106), to the north by W102 and to the south by a third robber trench (L123). Wall 102 continues west beyond the limits of the excavation, while its eastward continuation was robbed; its robber trench abuts Robber Trench 126. The south face of W102 was built of ashlars, whereas its north face was built of clusters of stones coated with white plaster (Fig. 5). Two courses of the wall were preserved, set on a foundation (0.5 × 0.9 × 3.5 m) built of clusters of small stones bonded with mortar (debesh) and founded on tamped hamra soil. The excavation in the room revealed three phases in which the floor level was raised. The earliest phase consisted of a crushed chalk floor (L125). In the second phase, the level was raised with a soil fill overlain with a plaster floor of good quality (L112). In the third phase, the level was raised with another fill, and a poor-quality plaster floor (L104) was laid on it. The three successive floors abut W102 to the south and the robber trenches around the room. The lower floor was not excavated.
Room E, to the north of Room D, is delimited to the east by Robber Trench 126, to the west by Robber Trench 106 and to the south by W102. The wall continues northward, beyond the excavated area. Three phases were unearthed. The earliest consisted of a crushed chalk floor (L117) abutting W102 to the north. In the second phase, the room level was raised with a soil fill on which a plaster floor was laid (L115). In the third phase, the level was raised with another fill, on which a poor-quality plaster floor was laid (L103).
Room F (Fig. 6), to the south of Room D, was bounded on the west by a wall (W113; length c. 1 m) and on the north by Robber Trench 123. Wall 113 was poorly preserved; it was built of clusters of stones bonded with white mortar, and its east face was coated with white plaster, like W102. Two phases were uncovered in the room. A plaster floor (L121) belonged to the earlier phase, and in the second phase the room’s level was raised considerably: first, a high-quality bedding composed of soil fill was laid (L119; Fig. 7); above this was a leveled surface of fieldstones that was covered with a thin layer of plaster; another layer of stones and another plaster layer were placed above this plaster; and finally, the floor was paved with a mosaic (L105), but only a small section was preserved. The floor bedding extended throughout the entire southern part of the excavation (except for two modern disturbances) and continued to the southwest, the south and the east, beyond the excavation area. In the preserved mosaic pavement, the tesserae were of various sizes, and colored stones were inserted in several places. It therefore seems likely that these tesserae were in secondary use. The floor abuts the remains of W113 to the east, and probably abutted Robber Trench 123 to the south.
Pottery and Stone Finds
Hagit Torgë
The pottery (Fig. 8) dates from the Abbasid period (late eighth–early tenth centuries CE). The bowl in Fig. 8:1 is simple and has a slightly carinated upper part; it has a straight, everted rim containing a groove for a lid and protruding ridges on the body. In Ramla, such vessels appear mainly in strata from the ninth–mid-tenth centuries CE (Torgë 2009: Fig. 6:4; Toueg and Arnon 2010: Fig. 12:3). The bowl in Fig. 8:2 is a late example of undecorated FBW bowls, and it has thin walls. These bowls, which continue a Byzantine tradition, date up to the beginning of the Early Islamic period (Gichon 1974:119, 139). They were very common throughout the country and elsewhere during late eighth–early ninth centuries CE (e.g., Tushingham 1985: Fig. 33:14). The basin in Fig. 8:3 is rather narrow and deep. It is a rare find in Ramla and has only been discovered in one other excavation (Arnon 2007: Fig. 11:1). The pithos in Fig. 8:4 has very thick walls, a rather rough plastic decoration on the shoulder, and a large, globular body with quite a rather small, ring-shaped base. Similar vessels have been found ornamented with a plastic decoration on their upper part—on or beneath the rim—and they usually have four handles. In Ramla they are typical of the ninth–tenth centuries CE (Kletter 2005: Fig. 19:1; Cytryn-Silverman 2010: Pl. 9.22:3–6). The jar in Fig. 8:5 is a ‘Jerusalem-type’ jar, which is commonly found in Ramla. Such jars continue a tradition stretching back to the sixth or early seventh century CE (Magness 1993:227–230, Form 6), and in Jerusalem they appear in assemblages from the ninth–tenth centuries CE (Magness 2003: Fig. 18.1:21).
Various jugs were found (8:6–9). The jug in Fig. 8:6 is simple, with a carinated shoulder and a straight base; it is the most common type of jug found in excavations in Ramla (e.g., Arnon 2007: Fig. 7:1; Cytryn-Silverman 2010: Pls. 9.17:11; 9.20:2; 9.24:4, 6) and elsewhere (e.g., Avissar 1996: Fig. XIII.129:10; Stacey 2004: Fig. 5.41:6–8), and dates from the Early Islamic period. Jugs No. 7 and 8 are glazed. Similar jugs have been found in the past in Ramla; most are glazed, some with a splash-ware decoration, and they date from the ninth–tenth centuries CE. Jug No. 9 has thick handles bearing a trefoil-shaped plastic decoration and a spiral braid. These handles usually appear on barbotine-style jugs—large jugs made of buff clay and decorated with plastic protrusions in a variety of shapes. Such jugs were very common throughout Israel, mostly from the early ninth to the mid-tenth centuries CE (e.g., Avissar 1996:159, Type 7; Brosh 1986: Pl. 1:1–3).
The vessel in Fig. 8:10 is an imitation of a steatite cooking pot, a luxury item encountered in strata from the Umayyad and Abbasid periods throughout Israel (Scanlon 1986: Figs. 1, 2, 7; Stacey 2004:94; Arnon 2008:29) and particularly in Ramla (Chachy-Laureys 2010: Figs. 14.4:1–3; 14.5:1, 2).
Metal artifacts
Nitzan Amitai-Preiss
Six metal objects were recovered (Fig. 9).
1. A dome-shaped bronze pendant (diam. 2 cm), with a loop at the top for a neck cord. The dome resembles a bell, but it is open and does not appear to have contained a clapper.
2. A folded, oval-shaped piece of bronze resembling a shell or a grain of wheat (length 5 cm, max. width 1.8 cm).
3. A bronze kohl stick (length 8.2 cm).
4. An iron nail (length 3.2 cm) with a round, slightly convex head that has a square cross-section; its shank is bent, probably from use (see Khamis 1996:222, Pl. XVIII, No. 8).
5, 6. Pieces of bronze (5) and lead (6) slag. Metal slag made of bronze and lead has been found in the past in Ramla (Yehuda 2016:90, Fig 5.1.1), and a metal workshop with a preserved furnace was also discovered (Gorzalczany 2014:97). Due to the nature of the finds, it is impossible in some excavations to determine whether the slag represents remains from tool-manufacturing workshops or from recycled metal (Gorzalczany 2014:96).
The walls of the uncovered building were scantily preserved, since they were subjected to extensive stone robbery, much like other building remains excavated in Ramla. The indicate that the building belonged to an affluent family that could afford to install a mosaic floor, high-quality plaster floors and ashlar-built walls that were coated with high-quality plaster. This is consistent with finds from nearby excavations, which indicate that this area was inhabited by a wealthy population.