The current excavation comprised two areas (A, B; Fig. 2). Three squares were excavated in Area A, yielding the remains of a building from the Abbasid and Fatimid periods (second half of the ninth–late eleventh century CE). In Area B, comprising only half a square, a water cistern was discovered but not excavated.
Area A. Building remains comprising two architectural phases were unearthed in the center of the excavation area. The first phase was represented by a plaster floor (L107) laid on a bedding of fieldstones placed on a soil fill. Floor 107 abutted a wall (W109) and robbers’ trenches (L108, L113), apparently the remains of a room. Wall 109 (0.55 m preserved height) was built of small fieldstones, and its inner face was coated with white plaster; its southeast end was damaged by a modern cesspit. What seems to have been a courtyard was uncovered to the west of Robbers’ Trench 108; it was paved with plaster floor (L114), which was laid at the same elevation as Floor 107.
In the second phase, the room was divided into two with the construction of a wall (W112) of roughly dressed stones, which were placed directly on Floor 107 and preserved to the height of one course (Fig. 3). The topsoil in this part of the area (L101) yielded two early Islamic jars (Fig. 4:6, 8).
In the northeast corner of the area was a remnant of a mosaic floor (L106; Fig. 5) made of small white, black and red tesserae set in a geometric design. A plaster floor (L103; Fig. 6) was partially preserved near the mosaic floor; it extended westward, beyond the excavation area. A deep probe was dug in the northwest corner of the area, uncovering the fills (L115, L121, L124) beneath Floor 103. Fill 121 yielded a sphero-conical container (Fig. 4:13) and a mold-made flask from the ninth–eleventh centuries CE (Fig. 4:16). Fill 124 contained another sphero-conical container (Fig. 4:14). Topsoil finds (L100) from this part of Area A included a jar dated to the ninth–eleventh centuries CE (Fig. 4:7), an amphoriskos from the eighth–ninth centuries CE (Fig. 4:11) and a jar lid (Fig. 4:15).
The foundation of a solid wall (W119; Figs. 2: Section 1–1; 7) built of roughly dressed stones was unearthed in the southern part of the area; only a few stones of the wall courses were preserved. The wall was abutted by a broad, oval pilaster (W118), of which only the foundation—well-built of small fieldstones bonded firmly together in gray mortar—survived. A tenth–eleventh-century CE jar was found beside the wall and the pilaster (L122; Fig. 4:9). Two superimposed floors abutted the wall and the pilaster on the east (Figs. 2: Section 2–2; 7). The earlier floor (L120), of which only a small part was preserved, was made of plaster; the underlying fill (L123) yielded pottery dating from the Abbasid period, including a Late Fine Byzantine Ware cup (Fig. 4:3). In the second phase, the floor was covered with a thick layer of dark fill (L116), which was in turn covered by a light-colored fill (L111), over which the later floor, made of crushed limestone, was laid (L110). Fills 111 and 116 yielded pottery dated to the Abbasid period: two bowls from Fill 111—a Coptic Glazed bowl (Fig. 4:1) and a Fine Byzantine Ware bowl (Fig. 4:2)—and a jar with a plastic decoration at the base of its neck (Fig. 4:4) from Fill 116. A crushed limestone floor (L117) abutted the wall and the pilaster from the west; pottery dating from the Fatimid period (not drawn) was collected while excavating the floor and its underlying fill. The topsoil in this part of the area (L102) yielded a zir jar from the ninth–tenth centuries CE (Fig. 4:5), a jar from the ninth–tenth centuries CE (Fig. 4:10) and a jug from the ninth–eleventh centuries CE (Fig. 4:12).
Area B. A fully preserved built cistern (L105; Fig. 8) was identified in the southwest corner of the plot. The interior of the cistern was not excavated.
Yael Gorin-Rosen
Fourteen glass fragments were retrieved and identified in the excavation (not drawn); they date from the Early Islamic period (eighth–tenth centuries CE). The earliest vessels date from the Umayyad period. The bedding of Floor 107 yielded the rim of a delicate beaker made of pale bluish-green glass covered with silver weathering. The vessel was mold-blown and twisted to create spiral ribs; the diagonal design is shallow and the wall is thin. As the rim is fine and fire-rounded, it was identified as a beaker; the form and quality of the glass date it to the Umayyad period. Another rim of a beaker/bowl, thickened and fire-rounded, was found in the fill beneath Floor 103 (L121). The glass is greenish-yellow, and the wall is rather thick; this type is dated to the eighth century CE. Fill 121 also yielded another rim, which belongs to a cylindrical beaker/bowl from the same period of time, and a rim of an infolded funnel-mouth of a bottle or a juglet of a type that is very common in Umayyad-period assemblages. The two vessels are made of greenish-blue glass containing tiny bubbles and abundant black impurities, with silver weathering and sand deposits. A flat base of a beaker of this type was retrieved from Fill 120. The base is made of greenish-blue glass covered with silver weathering and bears a small pontil scar.
The second group of vessels dates from the Abbasid period. They differ from the first group in the quality of the glass and in the weathering covering them. Robbers’ Trench 113 yielded the thickened, fire-rounded and flat rim of a bowl made of colorless glass and covered with black and silver weathering, severely pitted. The surface finds (L100) included three vessels: a complete wick tube and the base of a bowl lamp with a wick tube in the center, made of light greenish glass covered with thick black and silver weathering and pitting; and a fragment of a handle made of colorless glass covered with black and silver weathering, severely pitted. The two pieces date from the ninth–tenth centuries CE. These were found together with a fragment of a small hollow ring base of a beaker or a bowl that, based on its form and the quality of the glass, dates from the Umayyad period.
The vessels that were retrieved from the excavation belong to familiar types often found in Ramla and at other sites containing Early Islamic strata. They represent relatively simple, locally produced domestic ware.
The excavation unearthed the remains of at least one building containing a room and possibly an inner courtyard. The remnants of the ornate mosaic floor, the high-quality plaster floors and the two solidly built walls seem to indicate that this part of the city was inhabited by a wealthy population in the Early Islamic period.