Squares 1–3 (Fig. 3) contained a foundation course of a poorly preserved wall (W118; Fig. 4); most of it had been robbed. To the southwest of the wall, an accumulation at surface level (L100) yielded fragments of a Byzantine jar (Fig. 5:3), a Fine Byzantine Ware bowl (Fig. 5:5), an Early Islamic cooking pot (Fig. 5:6), a barbotine jug from the Abbasid period (Fig. 5:10) and a fragment of an Early Islamic lamp (Fig. 6:1). To the east of the wall, an accumulation at surface level (L101) contained fragments of a Byzantine Gaza Ware jar (Fig. 5:2), a late Byzantine Ware bowl (Fig. 5:4) and an Early Islamic zoomorphic vessel (Fig. 6:3). Accumulation 101 covered a bedding for a channel floor (L110; Fig. 7) made of small calcareous stones. Another surface-level accumulation further east (L102) contained a fragment of an Early Islamic mold-made jug (Fig. 5:11) and part of an Early Islamic zoomorphic vessel (Fig. 6:4). Under this accumulation was a small section of a floor bedding (L113; Fig. 8) made of small limestones. On the bedding were medium-sized fieldstones and among them were Abbasid-period potsherds (not drawn) and a fragment of an Early Islamic zir jar (Fig. 5:7). The accumulation (L115) surrounding the bedding yielded another fragment of an Early Islamic zoomorphic vessel (Fig. 6:5).
A bedding (L108; Figs. 9, 10), probably for a plaster floor, was unearthed in Sqs 4 and 5. The floor extended across almost the entirety of the two squares and probably continued southward, beyond the excavated area. On the southwest, it abutted a wall (W107), which forms a corner with another wall (W111); fourteen Mamluk copper fulus coins was found in a cluster between the stones of W107 (Kool, below). Wall 111 abutted a third wall (W112), which probably continued southward, beyond the excavation limits. Bedding L108 yielded a fragment of an Early Roman knife-pared lamp (Fig. 5:1) and a jar fragments from the Fatimid period (Fig. 5:8, 9). A sounding (L120; Fig. 9: Section 1–1) dug alongside Walls 111 and 112 revealed that they were preserved two courses high and were founded on sand; an Early Islamic saqiye jug (Fig. 5:12) and Abbasid potsherds (not drawn) were also recovered.
No architectural remains were encountered in Sqs 6 and 7 (Fig. 11). A thick layer of hamra soil (L105) excavated in Sq 6 contained Abbasid-perod potsherds (not drawn). Another thick layer of hamra soil (L106), excavated in Sq 7, yielded numerous body fragments of bag-shaped jars, a few cooking pots and other domestic ware from the Byzantine period (not drawn); the fragments included a small number of handles and a total of three rims. Also recovered were a slipped Umayyad-period juglet (Fig. 5:13), several Abbasid-period potsherds and one fragment from the Mamluk period (not drawn), as well as an intact zoomorphic vessel from the Early Islamic period, which was decorated with a red slip and bearing traces of black stripes down the back (Fig. 6:5). These finds and their condition seem to attest to a concentration of household waste from the Byzantine period, probably the contents of a large refuse pit that spanned the entire excavation area. A smaller pit, into which Abbasid and Mamluk pottery was discarded, was later dug into the accumulation of refuse of the earlier pit.
Glass Finds
Yael Gorin-Rosen
Eleven diagnostic fragments of glass vessels were retrieved from the excavation. Since the fragments are small, they were not drawn or photographed; nevertheless, their description, typology and dates are briefly summarized below. The vessels represent types characteristic of the local glass repertoire from several periods.
The earliest fragments date from the end of the Late Roman period and the beginning of the Byzantine period (L106, L108). The vessels characteristic of this phase are a bowl with a hollow, out-folded rim and a tubular ring base; a bowl with a double hollow fold below the rim; and a bottle with a funnel mouth and a rounded rim, decorated with alternating thick and thin trails. These vessels are known from many excavations in the area, such as Kh. el-Ni‘ana, where they were part of a range of vessels manufactured in a local workshop dated to the fourth and early fifth centuries CE (Gorin-Rosen and Katsnelson 2007:79–83, 100–103).
A few fragments are characteristic of the Umayyad period. These include a bowl with a hollow ring base that can be dated to this period based on the quality of the material and the workmanship (L114). Similar bases have been found in Ramla, in assemblages dating from the Umayyad period, for example the assemblage from the excavation north of the White Mosque (Gorin-Rosen 2010:220, Pls. 10.1:9, 10.2:7, and see additional references therein). Another fragment, typical of the beginning of the Islamic period in Ramla, is small and has a pontil scar at one end; it is part of a horseshoe-shaped object made of dark greenish-bluish glass (L101). Fragments of this type of object have been found in numerous excavations conducted within the city, such as to the one north of the White Mosque (Gorin-Rosen 2010:252, 254, Pl. 10.11:9), where one artifact of this type was found, and at the corner of Herzl and Ha-Hagana Streets (Katsnelson 2013: Fig. 12:1–3), where three such items were found. However, no explanation has yet been found for their use.
Two vessels were dated to the Abbasid period. The first is a short, narrow neck fragment truncated by a sharp, uneven cut, which comes from a blue bottle (L110). Such bottles have an asymmetrical cylindrical body with an ovoid base. They have an extensive distribution and are familiar items in assemblages from Ramla and other settlements (Gorin-Rosen 2010:227–228, Pl. 19:10.1). Their use remains unknown, but it was limited and took place mostly during the Abbasid period. In addition, a fragment of a thickened, flat bottle was retrieved (L115); based on the quality of the glass it should also be attributed to the Abbasid period.
The latest fragment is a coarse, hollow ring-shaped base made of greenish-yellowish glass (L104); it was attributed to the Mamluk period based on the quality of glass and its shape.
Metal Artifacts
Nitzan Amitai-Preiss
Seven metal artifacts were recovered during the excavation: part of an inlay (Fig. 12:1), a piece of cut bronze (Fig. 12:2), a piece of lead (Fig. 12:3), three weights (Fig. 12:4–6) and a lead ball (Fig. 12:7).
1. Part of a bronze inlay in the form of a key, composed of a square and an elongated rectangle. A fairly large square hole was made in the center of the square, and each of its four corners is decorated with a slightly sunken dot. The artifact may have been inlaid in a wooden knife handle or a wooden box. A similar item made of iron and identified as part of an inlay, possibly for a box or wooden cabinet, was discovered in an excavation in Ramla (Amitai-Preiss 2017a:186, Fig. 8.1.9, Pl. 187).
2. A corner cut from a bronze sheet (thickness 5 mm)—evidence of a metal workshop that may have produced jewelry or inlays.
3. An irregular lead rhomboid. A similar piece of lead was retrieved from a nearby site (Yehuda 2016:89, Fig. 5.1.1), and two comparable pieces made of bronze were discovered at el-Jamus Pool in Ramla (Amitai-Preiss 2017b).
4. A bronze heart-shaped weight (2.78 g). It resembles in its shape a heart-shaped lead weight that was discovered in a nearby excavation (48.8 g; Tal 2008:208, No. 13).
5. A rectangular bronze weight (2.6 g) weighing one dirham. A similar, 2.93 g weight was discovered in a nearby excavation (Tal 2008:207, No. 10).
6. A flattened round bronze weight (3.79 g) weighing one dinar. A weight weighing 3.98 g was discovered in an excavation on Shimshon Ha-Gibor Street (Amitai-Preiss 2016).
7. A lead ball (diam. 9 mm, 6.66 g). Shrapnel balls—which came into use during World War I—are identical in shape, and at times in diameter as well, to the bullets used in musket rifles and shotguns of the seventeenth–nineteenth centuries; it is thus impossible to determine the date of this artifact (A. Peretz, pers. comm.).
The Coins
Robert Kool
The excavation yielded 17 coins from the Ayyubid (late twelfth and thirteenth centuries CE) and Mamluk periods; all were identified. The earliest datable coin is a worn silver dirham of the Ayyubid sultan Al-‘Adil I (H 596–615/1199–1218 CE; IAA 161755); the coin was pierced, possibly when it was re-used as jewelry. The Mamluk coins are all coppers, and they date from the fourteenth century CE; one Mamluk fals can be dated more exactly to the reign of Barquq (H 792–801/1390–1399 CE; IAA 161750). 14 Mamluk copper fulus were found together among the stones of W107, possibly a small hoard (B1021).
The excavation unearthed architectural remains that probably lay on the outskirts of a large settlement from the seventh–eighth centuries CE. Part of the settlement was previously excavated by archaeologists from Tel Aviv University and the Israel Antiquities Authority (Gorzalczany, Yehuda and Torgë 2010: Table 1) who documented many dwellings and various industrial facilities that were devastated by a tremendous earthquake in the Umayyad period. The settlement was rebuilt, but it did not return to its former size and was replaced by a new settlement built to the north of the present city of Ramla. The remains uncovered in the current excavation are from the same period and are therefore probably part of the same settlement.