During June 2009, an excavation was conducted on Shabazi Street in the western part of Ramla (Permit No. A-5664; map ref. 186032–998/648711–23), prior to the installation of a sewer line. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Ramla Municipality, was directed by O. Sion (field photography), with the assistance of A. Hajian (surveying), E. Belashov (drafting) and I. Lidsky (pottery drawing).
The excavation (Fig. 1) was located along the western fringes of the city of Ramla, c. 500 m west of the White Mosque—the center of Ramla in the Early Islamic period.
The finds dated to the Early Islamic period (eighth–eleventh centuries CE).
Three squares (Figs. 2, 3) were opened to a depth of 1 m below surface, based on the probe trenches dug prior to the excavation, which revealed sections of buildings and installations (max. preserved height 0.4 m, 2–3 courses).
A fragmentary wall (W1; Figs. 3, 4), oriented north–south, was exposed. It was adjoined by a wall (W2), also partially preserved. The western face of W1 and the northern face of W2 were coated with gray plaster that contained a large amount of charcoal inclusions. A pounded chalk floor (L50) abutted the walls. A pit (Fig. 3: Section 1-1) that contained alternating layers of ash and potsherds was exposed in the southeastern side of the square.
The ceramic finds above the floor included a deep bowl (Fig. 5:1), a bowl decorated with green glaze and incised lines (sgrafito) done in dark brown smears inside the bowl (Fig. 5:2), a cooking pot (Fig. 5:3), a jar (Fig. 5:5) and a juglet (Fig. 5:9). Open cooking pots (Fig. 5:4) and jugs (Fig. 5: 6–8) were found below the floor (L54).
A floor (L51) of crushed and tamped chalk, similar to the floor in Square 1, was exposed. A water channel (Figs. 3: Section 2-2, 6), covered with small uneven stone slabs, was found beneath it (Fig. 3, A). The channel (width 0.12 m, width of sides A1, A2 0.18 m, depth 0.2 m) conveyed drinking water from north to south.
The ceramic artifacts found above the floor included bowls (Fig. 7:1–5), among them a deep bowl (Fig. 7:1), a bowl with a green monochrome glaze, smeared with dark brown paint on the inside and drops of glaze on the outside (Fig. 7:2) and a bowl glazed yellow on the inside (Fig. 7:5), cooking pots (Fig. 7:6–8), a jug (Fig. 7:9) and a decorated handle of a jug (Fig. 7:10).
A floor that also consisted of crushed and tamped chalk was exposed (L52; Fig. 8).
The pottery above the floor included a deep bowl (Fig. 9:1), a bowl glazed yellow on the inside and above the rim on the outside (Fig. 9:2), a kerbschnitt-type bowl (Fig. 9:3), a bowl of brown clay (Fig. 9:4), buff bowls (Fig. 9:5, 6), jars (Fig. 9:8, 9) and a buff juglet (Fig. 9:11). The potsherds beneath the floor included a green monochrome glazed bowl smeared with dark brown paint on the inside and drops of glaze on the outside (Fig. 9:7) and a jug (Fig. 9:10).
The architectural remains uncovered in the excavation belonged to buildings and installations of the Early Islamic period (eighth–eleventh centuries CE) and extended beyond the limits of the excavation area. A similar picture was revealed in excavation areas located further away from the center of the city in this period.
The buildings/installations ceased to be used during the eleventh century CE, probably subsequent to the earthquakes that struck the city in the years 1033 and 1068 CE.