During March, April and June 2004, a salvage excavation was conducted along the route of Highway 431, next to Moshav Yashresh (Permit No. A-4142; map ref. 18650/64725). The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Department of Public Works, was directed by O. Shmueli, with the assistance of E. Bachar (administration), T. Kornfeld and A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), T. Sagiv (field photography), Y. Bukengolts (pottery restoration), M. Shuiskaya (field and pottery drawings), and T. Kanias. Laborers for the excavation were provided by the Brick Manpower Company. Thanks to S. Gat and T. Tsuk, to Y. Porath for his assistance in dating the plaster and to P. Fabian and P. Gendelman for their aid in dating the ceramic finds.
The aqueduct, exposed for a distance of 150 m, extends in a general northeast-southwest direction (Fig. 1). It has a U-shaped cross-section and was built into a foundation trench (width c. 2 m), dug into the hamra soil; a foundation of small limestone fieldstones was placed at the bottom of the trench. The sides of the aqueduct (width 0.3 m), placed above the foundation, were built of medium-sized stones (0.1 × 0.2 m), bonded with gray mortar (max. preserved height 0.35 m) and coated with three layers of plaster.
Openings for draining the water were exposed in two sections of the aqueduct: one opening was situated at a point where the main section of the aqueduct branched off to a distribution cell that consisted of a square stone basin (outer dimensions 0.75 × 0.85 × 1.00 m, inner dimensions 0.25 × 0.60 × 0.60 m). The second opening, in the western side of the main aqueduct, consisted of a saqiye jar in secondary use that was converted to serve as a ceramic pipe. The aqueduct is dated to the sixth–seventh centuries CE, based on the ‘Gaza’-type jars found incorporated in its side. A juglet for drawing water, which was found in the stone basin, indicates that the aqueduct continued to be used until the ninth century CE.
The exposed aqueduct was built in the sixth–seventh centuries CE and probably used until the ninth century CE. It probably served for irrigating the farmland around Ramla, which was the capital of the Umayyad district.