During May–June 2006, a trial excavation was conducted at 30 Herzl Street in Ramla (Permit No. A-4814; map ref. NIG 187477–94/649259–75; OIG 137477–94/149259–75; Fig. 1), after a preliminary inspection exposed antiquities prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by N. and D. Marudy, was directed by A. Bouchenino, with the assistance of E. Bachar (administration), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), T. Sagiv (field photography), K. Ben Or-Ashi (preliminary inspections), I. Berin (drafting), C. Amit (studio photography), L. Kupershmidt (metallurgical laboratory), M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing) and D.T. Ariel (numismatics).
Building remains, fragments of pottery vessels and installations from the Early Islamic period were discovered in excavations that were recently conducted along Herzl Street and the roads adjacent to it (HA-ESI 117
, HA-ESI 119
, HA-ESI 120
, HA-ESI 121
and Permit Nos. A- 4728 and A-4774).
A square was opened in the current excavation, revealing building remains, potsherds and a coin from the Early Islamic period (eighth–tenth centuries CE).
Two construction phases that dated to the Early Islamic period were discerned.
The early phase included a section of a fieldstone-built wall (W13; length 1.5 m, width 0.55 m; Fig. 2) without bonding material, which was preserved a single course high, and possibly another section of a similarly built wall (W14; width 0.35 m).
Two rooms (L30, L31; Fig. 3) ascribed to the second phase were exposed. The walls (W10— length 4.9 m, width 0.5 m; W11—length 3.5 m, width 0.5 m; W12—length 1.7 m, width 0.65 m), founded on the sand without foundation trenches and built of fieldstones without bonding material, were preserved three courses high. Sections of a crushed chalk and small fieldstones floor (L20) survived in Room 30. A hearth (L110) of small fieldstones that was surrounded by ash and burnt stones was exposed in the corner formed by Walls 10 and 11. Outside the building and adjacent to the eastern face of W12 was a round fieldstone installation (L106). Both rooms probably belonged to a single structure, yet its plan could not be ascertained due to the limitations of the excavation.
The pottery assemblage from the two phases was homogeneous and dated to the Early Islamic period (eighth–tenth centuries CE). An assortment of bowls was discovered, including glazed and unglazed bowls of buff-colored clay (Fig. 4:1–3), a buff-colored bowl with curved sides and a folded rim (Fig. 4:4) and a deep bowl of brownish red fabric, with a thickened rim folded inward and sides decorated with patterns of combed stripes and wavy lines (Fig. 4:5). Other ceramic artifacts included a cooking krater of dark brown clay (Fig. 4:6), a jar of orange colored ware, with a ridge beneath the rim (Fig. 4:7), a jug of levigated, well-fired and buff-colored clay, with a flat base (Fig. 4:8), a mold-made and buff-colored jug, with a stylized floral decoration (Fig. 4:9), a flask of dark brown clay (Fig. 4:10) and two mold-made and almond-shaped lamps of buff-colored ware (Fig. 4:11, 12).
An Umayyad fils (minted in Ashqelon, 708–717 CE; IAA 102366) was found between Installation 106 and W11.