The excavation was conducted on farmland adjacent to Road 431. A nearby excavation revealed prehistoric remains of the Geometric Kebaran culture from the Epipaleolithic period (14,500–12,500 YBP; Permit No. A-5216).
Two excavation areas were opened (A, B; Fig. 2); Area B was divided into two sub-areas. Area A revealed the remains of a structure and two refuse pits to its west that served the Egyptian expeditionary force in World War I. Area B1 revealed a drainage channel and a wall from the British Mandate period, and Area B2 revealed a sabil (water fountain), also from this period.
Area A (Fig. 3)
The Structure. The excavation uncovered stone-built foundations of a cellar (Fig. 4)—part of a wooden building that was destroyed in an intense conflagration. The cellar was covered by a large amount of ash that spread over an extensive area. Up to three courses of foundations were preserved. The northeastern foundation (W103) was exposed along the entire length of Area A. It was constructed of limestone blocks of various sizes; their inner face was partly dressed, while the outer face was left unworked—an indication that the wall was not exposed above ground level. To the northeast of W103 was clean white sand. Near the southeast end of the exposed foundation were the remains of another wall (W104), the stones of which had mostly collapsed.
Two small cells (L112, L115; Fig. 5), which probably served for storage, abut W109. A particularly wide wall (W111) separates the two cells; it may have supported a second story. The entrance to Cell 112 was set in its western corner, and its floor was paved with stone slabs (Fig. 6). Between two of the pavers was a padlock of the type used to secure soldiers’ kitbags during World War I. The entrance to Cell 115 was set in its eastern corner; the cell was left unpaved. Around and within the cell were found two types of buttons, one of the British army general uniform shirt and the other of the trousers of this uniform, perhaps an indication that uniforms were stored nearby. A segment of a drainage channel (L2108) was uncovered to the southeast of Cell 115. Its walls were constructed of dressed stones laid on their narrow side, and its floor was coated with hydraulic plaster. The channel passed through a square opening in W103 and discharged water from the building into the sand to its northeast.
The excavation of the ash layer that covered the remains of the cellar yielded numerous objects related to military and leisure activities of soldiers. Some were objects were military supplies that belonged to the forces stationed in the area, while others were personal belongings: a motorcycle headlight; horseshoes; tent pegs; conserve tins; enamel plates and mugs; porcelain plates and cups from various manufacturing centers in European; a silver-plated spoon and a similar fork; a variety of bottles for wine, spirits and soft drinks; medicine vials; toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes; European tobacco pipes; and ammunition; as well as numerous other objects of diverse uses. Four objects were of special interest. One is a silver-plated copper knob of the baton that belonged to an RFC (Royal Flying Corps) officer; the RFC was established on April 3, 1912 and provided aerial cover to British forces in World War I. The second object is a pocket-watch cover, in which the guarantee, with a listing of all its provisions, was preserved, revealing that it was bought on New York’s Fifth Avenue; such watches were mass-produced since 1886 and received the moniker ‘dollar watches’ because of their low price. The third object is a medallion bearing the figure of Fuad, king of Egypt, and the French inscription “Vive Fuad, roi d'Égypte” (Long Live Fuad, king of Egypt). Objects bearing the same figure with Arabic inscriptions were found at Horbat Tittora in Modi‘in (Tendler 2021) and at El‘ad (Permit No. A-8589). The fourth object is a badge of the British Engineering Corps that was worn on the epaulet.
Refuse Pits. Two refuse pits (L100, L101) were found near the structure, to its west. Pit 101 (see Fig. 3: Section 1–1; Fig. 7) contained numerous objects, including discarded conserve tins that attest to the soldiers’ diet, and items that served the soldiers and the army, such as pieces of barbed wire; broken porcelain plates; and numerous intact and broken beverage bottles, including whisky bottles and an intact stoneware bottle for pickles. It appears that when Pit 101 filled up, it was covered with earth, and Pit 100 was dug 4 m to its west; the new pit was used for a short period of time, as it is smaller, shallower and contained fewer objects. Over 1000 glass bottles and sherds were collected from the structure and the two refuse pits (Fig. 8). According to army regulations, the soldiers were required to burn the garbage to prevent the spread of disease; and indeed, the pits contained large amounts of ash and several of the objects were deformed by the intense heat.
Area B (Fig. 9)
Drainage Channel. A segment of an L-shaped cast-concrete channel (L201, L203) was uncovered. The bend in the middle was missing as were the two ends, and therefore its source and destination are unknown. Near the channel, to its west, between two sycamore trees, was a short section of a concrete wall (W204). The wall and channel date from the British Mandate period, as attested by the type of concrete and the construction method used in both, but it is not clear if they were related to each other.
Sabil. The sabil (L205; Figs. 10, 11) is located to the southwest of the drainage channel. The sabil comprises a water reservoir, a drink faucet for passers-by (L206; Fig. 10: Section 2–2) installed under an arch on the northwestern side and a through for animals (L207) with a faucet set on its southeastern side. Two construction phases were discerned, both from the time of the British Mandate. In the early phase, the sabil was constructed of stones bonded with red bonding material. In the later phase, one course of ashlars was added, bonded with gray mortar with numerous seashells that is characteristic of the period, and a roof of reinforced concrete was installed over it. A square opening cut in the northeast corner of the roofing allowed access into the reservoir; a ledge around the opening held a cover. Part of the roof disintegrated over the years, and the cover over the opening was not preserved.
The excavation uncovered remains belonging to two phases within the first half of the twentieth century CE. Area A yielded remains of a structure that was part of a military camp of the Egyptian expeditionary force of the British Army, which fought the Ottoman army during World War I, and two refuse pits. The structure, which was destroyed in an intense conflagration, and the refuse pits yielded numerous objects that served the army units and the soldiers, testifying to their daily lives in the camp. Area B yielded a drainage channel and concrete wall from the time of the British Mandate, as well as a contemporaneous sabil. The sabil was built beside the Darb el-Hajj (Pilgrims’ Road) that connected Ramla with Nebi Rubin, 10 km to the west, near the mouth of Nahal Soreq on the Mediterranean coast. It most probably served as a station for pilgrims on their way to the festivities held each July at Nebi Rubin.