In October 2018, a salvage excavation was conducted in the southeastern part of the Nesher Quarry near Ramla (Permit No. A-8367; map ref. 192921–67/645701–43; Fig. 1), after ancient finds were discovered in trial sections. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by Nesher Israel Cement Enterprises – Nesher Ramla Quarry, was directed by O. Danziger, with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), Y. Marmelstein (field photography), R. Toueg (trial sections), as well as A. ‘Azab and Y. Kornfeld.
The excavation revealed a collecting vat, a limekiln, a quarry and a wall (Fig. 2). Prior to the excavation, subterranean cavities and rock-cuttings were found. Similar remains are common in the area; some were discovered in a previous excavation. In a past excavation in the quarry an subterranean cavity was uncovered containing flint objects from prehistoric periods (Oron 2018). At the site of el-Khirbeh, north of the quarry, are settlement remains spanning from the Paleolithic through the Byzantine periods (Kol-Ya‘akov 2010a; 2010b; Avrutis 2012).
A rock-cut collecting vat (L100; 1.20 × 1.35 m, depth 0.85 m; Figs. 3, 4), part of a winepress, was unearthed in the southern part of the excavation area. In the northern part of the area, a vertical rock wall (length 1 m) of a quarry was unearthed, where marks of mechanical quarrying could be discerned, indicating that it was in use during the British Mandate period; it serves as a source for lime production to this day. This quarry may have produced limestone for a limekiln (L101; diam. 3.7 m, depth 3.3 m; Figs. 5, 6) discovered in the eastern part of the area. The kiln was dug into the ground and lined with fieldstones. In a section (L106) excavated in the kiln down to its floor, a layer of lime was found, confirming its use for lime production. The kiln may have been in use during the Ottoman and the British Mandate periods. Adjacent to the kiln, to its west, was a fieldstone-built wall (W107; length 1.15 m, width 0.4 m); its use is unclear. No pottery or other finds were discovered in the excavation.
Avrutis V.W. 2012. The Late Chalcolithic Pottery Assemblages. In V.W. Avrutis. Late Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age I Remains at Nesher-Ramla Quarry. Haifa. Pp. 33–100.
Kol-Ya’akov S. 2010a. Salvage Excavations at Nesher-Ramla Quarry I. Haifa.
Kol-Ya’akov S. 2010b. Salvage Excavations at Nesher-Ramla Quarry II: The cemetery. Haifa.