During March 2002 a trial excavation was conducted on David Razi’el Street in Ramla (Permit No. A-3614*; map ref. NIG 187046/64759; OIG 137046/14759), following the construction of a ritual bath (miqwe). The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by M. Avissar, with the assistance of A. Hajian (surveying) and I. Pikovski (pottery drawing).
Two excavation squares, revealing meager architectural remains, were opened (Fig. 1).
A habitation level (elevation c. 75.3 m above sea level) was uncovered in Square A. Next to the square’s eastern balk was a circular fieldstone surface that stood a single course high (W1). It was impossible to determine if this was the base of a wall, an installation or a section of pavement. Around it were sections of a tamped-earth floor that yielded fragments of pottery vessels, dating to the Early Islamic period.
Sections of massive walls (W2, W3, W4) were discovered in the eastern part of Square B. The walls stood a single course high and were built of two rows of dressed stones with a core of small fieldstones. The walls were constructed atop the natural sand that is characteristic of Ramla. A thick habitation level of tamped earth abutted the walls. An entrance was probably located between Walls 2 and 4. A section of a curved wall (W5), built of fieldstones and preserved a single course high, was exposed in front of the entrance. It was probably part of an installation that did not survive. Most of the building was situated beyond the limits of the excavation square.
The habitation level in Square B contained numerous fragments of pottery vessels, characteristic of the Early Islamic period in Ramla, including delicate glazed bowls decorated with a polychrome splash (Fig. 2:1) and plain glazed bowls decorated with brown and green painting under the glaze (Fig. 2:2, 3), as well as plain unglazed bowls of buff clay (Fig. 2:4–8), bowls of red clay (Fig. 2:9, 10), cooking kraters and closed cooking pots (Fig. 2:11–13), jars that probably originated in the vicinity of Jerusalem (Fig. 2:14–16), jugs of buff clay (Fig. 2:17–20), a jug of very light brown clay, coated on the interior and exterior with a green alkali glaze (Fig. 2:21), a lid (Fig. 2:22) and a lamp with a tongue handle (Fig. 2:23). Several accessories of buff clay, used by potters to arrange and support the vessels in the kilns prior to firing, were discovered among the fragmentary vessels, indicating the presence of a ceramic workshop in the vicinity. All of the vessels were locally produced, except for the glazed jug (Fig. 2:21) that was an import from Mesopotamia. A few glass vessels were also found. All of the artifacts are dated to the Early Islamic period––the ninth century CE.