Ancient remains were found in the excavation area during the course of preliminary inspections. After exposing the surface to the top of the ancient remains by means of mechanical equipment (at an average depth of 0.3 m), an area (U; Fig. 2) consisting of fifteen squares was opened. Square plastered installations, a building, wall remains, a refuse pit and floors from the Early Islamic period were exposed, as well as a pottery workshop from the Roman period.
Installations. As was already discerned in the previous excavations, the most common installations are shallow rectangular pools. These were built of small fieldstones bonded with mortar and coated with gray-white plaster; their walls were preserved to a maximum of 0.3 m high. Several pools in various states of preservation were found; most were small and fairly shallow (1×1 m, average depth 0.5 m). Due to the preservation of the site, it was usually not possible to relate a pool to other remains nearby; however, remains of floors or work surfaces composed of plaster and small stones adjoined several of them.
The most complete installation was exposed in Square G2. This was a shallow installation (L24014; Figs. 3, 4) surrounded by a stone surface whose floor was composed of white plaster. A large ashlar, evidently used as a step, was placed next to the installation’s western side. It seems that the installation was used for collecting liquids. A section of a plaster floor (L24031), probably the remains of another installation, was exposed southwest of Installation 24014 (Sq H1) and north of the latter installation, remains of a wall that were in all likelihood part of an installation (L24040; Sq E2) were exposed. A shallow square installation, whose sides were built of fieldstones bonded with light colored mortar, as well as a floor of plaster (L24027; Fig. 5), were exposed in the southeast (Sq J8). West of that installation, in Sq J6, a side and remains of a floor of another installation (L24029) were revealed.
An installation (L24038; Sq G9; Fig. 6) was exposed in the east; it included three plastered walls that abutted a fieldstone floor. A retaining wall (W24054) was built next to the northern side of the installation. South of the installation were remains of an installation (L24039) that had survived by a plaster floor and the wall foundations. Meager remains, probably of installations, were also exposed in Sq I4 (L24050) and in Sq F7 (L24002).
Mixed pottery assemblages dating from the Umayyad and Abbasid periods (eighth–tenth centuries CE) were discovered in most of the installations; these included bowls, some of which are glazed (Fig. 7:1–4), kraters (Fig. 7:5, 6) and jars (Fig. 7:7).
Building. A building was exposed iIn Squares F4–F5; it had at least three rooms. The western room was long and narrow and its floor consisted of crushed chalk and plaster. East of it were two wider rooms, in which no floor was exposed. The walls of the building (W24012, W24013, W24043, W24049), preserved a single course high, were built of fieldstones bonded with lime-mortar. Remains of a floor or a foundation of small stones bonded with mortar (L24047) were discovered north of the building. Two walls that formed a corner and were built of partially dressed stones (W24044, W24045) were exposed south of the building’s southeastern corner. Fragments of pottery vessels dating to the Abbasid period (tenth century CE) were collected from the building.
Remains of a meager wall (W24046) and a floor that abutted it (L24048) were discovered west of the building.
Refuse Pit. A refuse pit was discovered in a trial trench excavated in the southwestern part of the excavation area (not on the plan). It contained a large amount of potsherds and glass fragments from the Byzantine and Umayyad periods. It seems that the pit was used for discarding debris from a potter’s kiln that was not detected, although no diagnostic wasters indicative of a pottery kiln were found in it.
Installation 24027 (Sq J8) was probably a room for another refuse pit from the Byzantine–Umayyad periods.
Pottery Kiln. A pottery kiln (L24033; Figs. 8–10) was exposed c. 120 m north of the main excavation area (Sq Z1; not marked on plan). The round kiln was partly damaged by mechanical equipment and only the level of its firebox survived. Arches that extended to the outer sides of the installation had sprung from a square pillar in the center of the firebox (Fig. 11). Remains of the vessel floor and remains of the arches were found in the fill inside the kiln. The stoke hole through which fuel was inserted into the firebox was exposed on the eastern side of the kiln.
The fill in the kiln and around the installation contained fragments of pottery vessels from the Roman period, primarily body sherds of jars, with no diagnostic debris of a pottery workshop.
The glass finds included thirty indicative fragments and eighteen body fragments of vessel types dating to the Late Roman, Byzantine and Early Islamic periods.
Another part of the extensive and planned industrial region, which operated south of Ramla during the first centuries after the establishment of the city, as well as prior to that, was exposed in the current excavation. The remains of installations, buildings and refuse pits exposed in the excavation join those which were discovered in the large previous excavations at the site. The most significant discovery is the pottery kiln that was fairly well-preserved; similar kilns excavated at the site are characteristic of the Roman period.