During June–July 2001 a salvage excavation was conducted north of the Ayyalon Prison, in Ramla, for the purpose of enlarging the prison compound (Permit No. A-3448; map ref. NIG 18882/64919; OIG 13882/14919; ESI 20). The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by Y. Billig, with the assistance of S. Ayub (area supervision), V. Pirsky (surveying) and C. Amit (photography).
The excavation area (10 × 46 m), oriented north–south, is located west of the area that was excavated in 1996. Several finds dating to the Neolithic period were discovered, as well as a few from the Fatimid period that were found on surface. The main architectural remains were exposed in a hard, dark-colored soil layer (thickness c. 0.7 m), overlaying beach sand. The finds were dated to the Abbasid period and included segments of building foundations, aligned north–south and east–west. The foundations were built of small and medium-sized limestone or kirton stones that were preserved a single course high, usually below the floor levels. Some of the remains were built of dry construction and in some cases they made use of a mixture of gray cement, containing large amounts of ash and charcoal.
A large quantity of deformed potsherds––debris from pottery production––were discovered in the southern part of the excavation area, as well as a fragment of a ceramic mold for a lamp, indicating the existence of a pottery workshop. Other finds from this area included a jar embedded in the sand, which contained three pebbles, two black and one white, 27 astragalus bones (ankle bones used as gaming pieces in antiquity) and a small glass bottle without a neck.
Several refuse pits dug in the sand were excavated. One of them contained pottery vessels, among them jars, bowls, a cooking pot, a lamp, as well as a ring, glass vessels, and animal bones. Another pit contained a complete jar and fragments of other jars.
A water cistern was revealed 9 m northeast of the excavation area and 2 m south of the cistern was a plastered settling vat. In a later period a conduit that conveyed water to the cistern was built on top of the vat. A floor embedded with potsherds surrounded the cistern. In the northern part of the excavation area two circular installations that may be drainage sumps were uncovered; they were installed in a layer of hard sand.
Other objects discovered in the excavation included some ten decorated lamps, basalt items, mostly used as grinding stones, glass vessels, a faience bead, a ring and other metal artifacts.