In November 2019, a salvage excavation was conducted in the fields of Kibbutz Na‘an, northeast of the kibbutz (Permit No. A-8615; map ref. 187306–16/644029–40; Fig. 1), following damage caused to antiquities and the exposure of an aqueduct. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the Gezer Regional Council, was directed by O. Danziger, with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), I. Jonish (surveying and photography), Y. Gomani (drafting), Y. Tepper (guidance) and R. Toueg (consultation), as well as I. Korenfeld and A. ‘Azab.
The excavation area is hilly terrain interspersed with cultivated fields on hamra and grumusol soils. The single excavated square exposed a section of an aqueduct, many sections of which were exposed in the past in the Ayalon stream basin (Gorzalczany 2014: Fig. 1, and see references and a discussion therein). According to historical sources, the aqueduct was built in the Umayyad period by the caliph Sulayman bin ‘Abd al-Malik, founder of Ramla, and it seems to have carried water from the Abu Shusha springs near Tel Gezer to the city of Ramla. It was put out of use and destroyed in the tenth century CE.
The exposed aqueduct section is oriented southeast–northwest; its bottom part was uncovered 0.3–0.4 m below the surface and was well preserved (L101; Figs, 2, 3). The aqueduct was founded on a thin (1–2 cm) reddish bedding consisting of grog mixed with lime. On the bedding was a foundation of fieldstones bonded with a gray bonding material of lime and ash, on which were constructed the two parallel walls that served as the sides of the conduit; the eastern one was well-preserved. The conduit’s floor (exposed length 3.9 m, internal width 0.4 m) was coated with reddish plaster. The inner faces of the aqueduct’s walls were coated with two layers of plaster, indicating two phases. The inner, earlier layer (thickness 1–2 cm) is reddish, and it contains quartz, potsherds and broken shells; a travertine deposit (thickness 4 mm) covers the plaster. The outer plaster layer is gray-white, and it curves where it meets the bottom; a thin travertine deposit was identified over it as well.
The pottery found in the excavation includes an Early Islamic-period casserole (eighth–tenth centuries CE; Fig 4:1), an Abbasid-period jug (ninth–tenth centuries CE; Fig. 4:2) and an Umayyad-period Gaza jar (eighth–ninth centuries CE; Fig. 4:3).
The excavation exposed yet another section of the Gezer–Ramla aqueduct, which according to pottery and historical sources was built in the Umayyad period. The pottery found in the excavations allows dating its period of use, thereby corroborating the historical sources.
Gorzalczany A. 2014. A Section of the Gezer-Ramla Aqueduct (Qanat Bint al-Kafir) and a Mamluk-Period Cemetery near Moshav Yashresh. ʽAtiqot 79:213–230.