During February 2001 a salvage excavation was conducted on Grez Street in Ramla (Permit No. A-3377*; map ref. NIG 1990–2/6371–3; OIG 1490–2/1371–3), prior to the construction of a private house. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by Y. Arbel, with the assistance of A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), A. de Vincenz (ceramic reading), T. Sagiv (studio photography) and M. Shuiskaya-Arnov (pottery drawings).
An excavation square was opened and expanded to the southwest upon discovery of a section of a building from the Abbasid period, at a depth of c. 0.8 m below surface.
The building consisted of at least two rooms (Fig. 1); the limited excavation area precluded the determination of a complete plan for the structure. Four walls (W15–W18; width 0.5 m) that were preserved one–two courses high (0.2–0.3 m) were discovered. The walls were built of fieldstones and mortar. Two dressed stones (0.25 × 0.50 m) at the northern end of W18 were next to the eastern face. Based on other contemporary buildings in Ramla (HA–ESI 112:68*–69*), it seems that most of the walls and perhaps all of them were lined with dressed stones, which were mostly plundered after the structure was abandoned or destroyed. The surviving building remains in the area constitute the cores of the walls. A dressed stone that was fitted perpendicular to the direction of the masonry stones in W17 was probably a doorjamb. This was the only entrance evident in the excavated section of the building.
Room I had a beaten-earth floor mixed with crushed chalk (L19), overlaying a thin compacted bed of soil and small stones (L23), which rested atop the natural sand. A large amount of ash that contained numerous pottery fragments (L13) was on the floor. The ceramic finds included types of pottery vessels characteristic of the Abbasid period (nineth–tenth centuries CE), such as pale yellow glazed bowls decorated with green bands over the glaze (Fig. 2:1, 2), jar handles with plastic decorations (Fig. 2:3), jugs with incised geometric (Fig. 2:4, 5) or floral decorations (Fig. 2:6), juglets (Fig. 2: 7, 8) and mold-made lamps (Fig. 3:1, 2).
Room II contained a similar accumulation, but hardly any remains of the floor were preserved. A complete juglet (Fig. ) and jug (Fig. ), and three intact lamps (Fig. –5) were found on the floor of the room (L20). All of the pottery vessels, save the juglets that were made of pale reddish-brown clay, were produced of light yellow clay characteristic of the Abbasid period. Other finds included several fragments of glass vessels and bronze articles that could not be identified.
A stratum (L21) that was similar in nature and contents to the accumulations inside the rooms of the building was exposed to the west of the structure. This was probably another room, but the excavation could not be expanded. A probe (L22) intended to trace earlier phases of the building did not turn up any building remains.
Judging by the finds, the building is dated to the Abbasid period (nineth–tenth centuries CE). The accumulation of ash in the rooms indicated that it may have been destroyed in a conflagration. The building was not renovated and its ruins served as a source for building stones in later periods.