In July 2015, a salvage excavation was conducted on Herzog Street in Ramla (Permit No. A-7461; map ref. 187811–31/647757–85; Fig. 1), prior to construction work. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by Y. Elisha, with the assistance of Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), V. Essman and Y. Shmidov (surveying and drafting), A. Dagot (GPS), M. Shuiskaya (drawing), N. Zak (plans) and H. Torgë (pottery report).
The excavation was conducted in a plot in the south part of the old city, near the corner of Herzog and Bialik Streets. A cemetery from the Early Islamic period and remains from the Mamluk period had previously been excavated further down on Bialik Street (Parnos and Nagar 2008
; Fig. 1: A-4016), and remains of a building from the Mamluk and Ottoman periods were unearthed in a nearby plot (Toueg 2011
; Fig. 1: A-5633). The current excavation comprised two squares, partially revealing two rooms (1 and 2; Fig. 2) belonging to a building from the Mamluk period. Five phases of construction and repairs (A–E) were identified in the building.
Phase A comprised a wall (W116; Fig. 3), which separated between the two rooks. The wall was built of two rows of small–medium stones, of which one course was preserved; patches of red plaster could be discerned on both faces of the wall. Wall 116 was abutted by a red plaster floor in Room 1 (L112/L115; Fig. 3). The makeup of the floor yielded two bowls (Fig. 4:1, 11), one of which (No. 1) is glazed; two jars (Fig. 5:6, 7); and a foot-like stem of a bronze artifact, probably a candlestick (Fig. 6). A second red plaster floor (L101) abutted W116 in Room 2. In the accumulation over the floor (L106) two glazed bowls (Fig. 4:5, 7) and two casseroles (Fig. 5:1, 2), one of which (No. 1) was handmade. In an accumulation that abutted W116 to the north of Floor 101 were a glazed handle of another jug (Fig. 5:9) and a strainer jug (Fig. 5:11). A layer of stones (L107) uncovered in the southern part of the excavation area seems to be the continuation of the bedding of Floor 101. The bedding yielded a simple bowl with thick and carelessly made walls (Fig. 4:10) and two jugs (Fig. 5:8, 10), one of which (No. 10) was made of white soft paste and was decorated in blue and white.
Phase B comprised a small section of a floor (L113; Fig. 7) in the northwest corner of Room 1; it probably was a small, local repair, which extended westward and for which the floor was slightly raised.
Phase C. While W116 continued in use during this phase, two walls were added to Room 1, enclosing it on the west (W117) and on the north (W119). Wall 117 was built of fieldstones; all that remained of W119 was a robber’s trench. The corner of the two walls was built on Floor 113. A red plaster floor (L104; thickness c. 3 cm; Fig. 8), which was laid on a bedding of small and medium-sized fieldstones and abutted both walls. When reaching the W117, the plaster floor rose slightly and covered the lower part of the wall (rolka), as evidenced by traces of red color on the wall. Remnants of the red plaster floor were found in Trench 119, indicating that it covered the lower part of this wall as well. The accumulation on the floor yielded six glazed bowls (Fig. 4:2–4, 6, 8, 9), one of which (No. 8) is made of white soft paste, a and two handmade cooking pots (Fig. 5:3, 4).
Phase D compriseda wall that was built in Room 2 (W118), which abutted the eastern face of W116 at about its mid length. Wall 118 was built of an orderly row of large, roughly dressed stones set on Plaster Floor 101.
Phase E comprised part of a floor (L103), also made of red plaster, uncovered to the northeast of W116; its elevation indicates that it is later than the rest of the remains (Fig. 2: Section 1:1).
A modern pit (L110) was discovered in the southwest corner of the excavation area. It contained pottery sherds, including a fragment of a jar (Fig. 5:5), along with broken pieces of modern iron tools.
The use of the building, with its red plaster floors, is unclear, although it may have served as a dwelling. Although not many excavations have been conducted in the immediate vicinity and the information about this part of the city is scant, it seems that this area lay outside the limits of the ancient Islamic city, as suggested by its proximity to the cemetery that extends to its west (Parnos and Nagar 2008
). All the pottery is from the Mamluk period, a date that is in accordance with the remains uncovered in Toueg’s adjacent excavation (Toueg 2011
). Although the excavation did not reach sterile soil, it seems that construction in this part of the city began only in the Mamluk period, as evident from the remains uncovered in Toueg’s adjacent excavation.
Parnos G. and Nagar Y. 2008. Ramla, Bialik Street. HA-ESI 120