The Architectural Remains
The East Square. A badly built foundation arch of an Ottoman building was unearthed in the southwest part of the excavation square. When a new structure was built at the beginning of the twentieth century, the poor-quality arch had to be reinforced. To do this, a wide, deep pit (L103) was dug and a stone chute in secondary use (L105) was inserted vertically so that its upper end supported the keystone of the arch (Fig. 3). The chute was covered with a thick travertine deposit, indicating that water had flowed across it for a considerable length of time. The bottom of the chute was not exposed, but it appears to have measured at least 2.5 m long. Pit 103 was intentionally filled up with household refuse, which included a variety of pottery sherds from the Mamluk and Ottoman periods (see Figs. 7:2, 4–9; 8), metal artifacts (not drawn) and two fulus from the fourteenth century CE (Kool, below).
The West Square. Part of the inner courtyard of a building that was built in the Mamluk period and continued in use during the Ottoman period was uncovered. Three superimposed floors were unearthed: a floor of crushed chalk (L107) beneath a plaster floor (L106) that lay beneath another plaster floor (L102; Fig. 4). While excavating Floor 102, a fragment of a coffee cup from the Ottoman period (see Fig. 7:10) was discovered, alongside a worked bone, convex section and bearing three perforations (Fig. 5), possibly the haft of a knife or an inlay. Floor 107 yielded an imported Italian bowl from the fifteenth–sixteenth centuries CE (see Fig. 7:2) and a jar from the Mamluk period (see Fig. 7:3). Scattered above the floor were five copper fulus from the fourteenth century CE (Kool, below). A wall (W108) unearthed beneath Floor 107 was abutted by a floor of stone slabs (L109; Fig. 6), which incorporating a clay drainage pipe that probably carried water from the building to a cistern beneath the floor. An iron arrowhead, whose date is unclear (see Fig. 9:1) and a fourteenth-century CE fals (Kool, below) were found between the stone slabs of Floor 109. Due to time constraints, no pottery was collected from beneath this floor, and therefore its construction be dated.
Hagit Torgë and Anna de Vincenz
The ceramic assemblage was dated to the Mamluk and Ottoman periods (Fig. 7).
The pottery from the Mamaluk period includes a base of a bowl (Fig. 7:1) imported from Italy, which was manufactured in either Emilia-Romagna, Venice or Padua. The bowl has green and yellow glaze over a white slip with sgraffito decoration; such bowls date from the last quarter of the fifteenth–early sixteenth centuries CE. Also from this period are a cooking pot (Fig. 7:2) burnished inside and out, with a thick wall and an everted rim, and a jar (Fig. 7:3) with a thickened rim and a ridged decoration on the neck (Vincenz and Sion 2007: Fig. 11:4–9).
The ceramic finds from the Ottoman period include plates (Fig. 7:4, 5), a jar (Fig. 7:6), jugs (Fig. 7:7–9), coffee cups (Fig. 7:10, 11) and a marmorizzata flask (Fig. 7:12; Vincense, below).
. Plate 4 has an everted rim, folded over at the edge, and green lead glaze over a white slip on the interior and on the rim. These bowls were imported from Turkey from beginning in the seventeenth century and through the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries CE (Hayes 1992: Figs. 107, 108, Turkish Type Series; Vincenz, forthcoming [a]
: Type J-MONO-BL-1B). Plate 5 is a Didymoteicho plate with a very thick wall. Plates of this type were decorated with white stripes beneath a yellow or green glaze. They were manufactured in Didymoteicho, Greece and exported throughout the Ottoman Empire during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries CE (François 1995
: Pls. I–V; Vincenz, forthcoming [b]
: Type J-DID-1A green, 2A yellow).
. This is a large jar (Fig. 7:6
) which was probably used for storage. It has a thick wall, a folded rim and a plastic decoration at the base of the neck. Such jars date from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries CE (François 1995
; Vincenz, forthcoming [b]
: Type J-JR-4).
. Jug 7, bearing a green alkalic glaze, has a folded rim and two handles drawn out from the lower part of the neck. Such jugs were used from the early eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries (Vincenz, forthcoming [a]
: Type J-JR-6A), and they resemble Black Gaza Ware jugs, Sub-Type 4 (Israel 2006
: Fig. 55). Jug 8 is an ibriq
(drinking jug), with a narrow neck and a globular body. These jugs have one handle in the center of the neck and a spout on the body, and they date from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries CE (Israel 2006
: 150, Fig. 129, painted ibriq
on left). Jug 9, lacking a clear stratigraphic provenance, is a Majolica jug glazed inside and out and decorated with a blue design. Jugs of this type date from the fifteenth–eighteenth centuries CE.
Coffee cups (Fig. 7:10, 11). Coffee cups of this type were produced in Kütahya, Turkey. The cups are made of frit and are decorated in black, blue and green under a transparent glaze; a yellow decoration appeared in the early eighteenth century CE. The cups date from the eighteenth century CE (Carswell 1972; Vincenz, forthcoming [b]: Type J-KÜT-CC;).
Anna de Vincenz
A fragment of a flask (fiasco del viandante ansata) with a wide lug handle on which a face is depicted (Fig. 7:12) was found in a locus with no clear stratigraphic context. The fragment is decorated in the marmorizzata technique: glazes of various colors combined to give the vessels a marble-like appearance. Despite the fragment’s small size, its glaze clearly points to a date in the second half of the eighteenth century CE.
Fragments of a marmorizzata
flask produced in Tuscany (Val d’Arno), with handles decorated with lion heads, have been found in Barcelona and dated to the early eighteenth century CE (Beltrán de Heredia Bercero and Miró I Alaix 2010
:14–15, Pl. 3: lower right; Pl. 7: Fig. 2). An intact flask with lion-head handles is on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum (No. 1850–1928) and was published by Moore Valeri (2013: Fig. 2), who published another flask from Florence (Moore Valeri 2013
: Fig. 27). Marmorizzata
vessels from Tuscany, mainly from Pisa, were exported widely and arrived in Greece, Turkey and Israel beginning in the sixteenth century CE (Giorgio 2016
Clay Tobacco Pipes
Fragments of three clay tobacco pipes (chibouks) dating from the second half of the eighteenth century CE were retrieved (Fig. 8:1–3). The pipes have a short shaft, a round bowl slipped and burnished in hues of brown and are decorated mainly with rouletted lines. Pipe 1 bears a round stamp with six protrusions on the right side of the shank; above it is a simple wreath. Pipe 2 has a wreath decorated with a rouletted line. Rouletted lines decorate the join between the bowl and the rim, which was not preserved in Pipes 1 and 2, and the join between the shaft and the bowl in Pipe 3. The bowls of Pipes 1 and 3 are simple, and half of the frame of an oval medallion containing a vegetal motif was preserved on the bowl of Pipe 2.
The excavation yielded several metal items, of which three will be presented here (Fig. 9).
(L109, B1034; 6.2 cm long; Fig. 9:1). The arrowhead is flat and is made of iron. Similar iron arrowheads have been found at Mez
eret (Vadum Iacob, Le Chastelet; Raphael 2008
:263, leftmost arrowhead on upper row), at Banias (Khamis 2008
:165, 181, Nos. 66–68), in excavations at Mamila in Jerusalem (Amitai-Preiss, forthcoming
) and in the Damascus Citadel (Nicolle 2011
:311, Fig 111, No. a). In her study of the arrowheads found at Mez
eret, Raphael notes that arrowheads changed only little between the twelfth and the fifteenth centuries CE, and that the arrowheads of both the Muslims and the Crusaders found at the fort were made using identical material and metal-working techniques, and may have been purchased from the same suppliers; Raphael finds that an anonymous Arabic manuscript about archery from the fifteenth century CE (Faris and Elmar 1945
) corroborates her observation (Raphael 2008
:263). It is thus impossible to determine whether the arrowhead is from the Mamluk or Crusader period. The arrowhead was found on the earliest floor uncovered in the excavation (L109), but since the excavation did not go down any further, its date of construction is left unknown; nevertheless, a fourteenth-century CE coin was found in between he floor’s pavestones, suggesting that it may be dated to the Mamluk period.
A teardrop-shaped object (L101, B1026; length 2.4 cm, max. width 1.2 cm; Fig. 9:2). This object is perforated in the center of its thick part, and the tip of the upper part is bent backward. It may be part of a piece of jewelry.
A bronze strip (L101, B1025; length 3 cm; Fig. 9:3). This is a folded strip if bronze that was probably folded prior to re-melting. It may have been intended for a piece of jewelry, or for repairing some tool.
Two pieces of bronze, one resembling a teardrop and the other a small fragment, were found at the intersection of Tel H
ai and Herzl streets in Ramla (Toueg 2017), where remains from the Mamluk period were discovered.
The bronze pieces are probably debris from a bronze workshop, or they may be evidence of secondary use of bronze tools (Amitai-Preiss 2017).
The excavation yielded 17 coins, all of which were identified. One coin, found in an non-stratigraphic context, is from the Ayyubid period: a worn and pierced silver dirham of the Ayyubid sultan Al-Adil I (H 596–615/1198–1218 CE; IAA 161755), possible re-used as jewelry. Fifteen coins are Mamluk copper fulus from the fourteenth century. Only one fals can be precisely dated to the reign of Barquq (H 792–801/1390–1399 CE; IAA 161750). Of the other fulus, five (B1021; IAA 161759, 161760, 161762, 161764, 161765) were found scattered above Floor 107, possibly a small assemblage or hoard. One coin is a residual sixth-century Byzantine 10 nummus (IAA 161761).
The excavation remains are dated to the Mamluk and Ottoman periods. Of particular interest is the chute, whose use and connection with the Ottoman foundation arch are unclear. Its travertine deposits show that a considerable amount of water flowed over it, and it appears to have served in some industrial installation that used fresh water. Such chutes are characteristic of flour mills, but it may have been used in some other installation. It is the first chute to have been found in any excavation in Ramla, and its provenance is unclear, especially as no natural source of running water exists nearby.