Medieval Arab mansion unearthed in Israel
A spokesperson for the Netivei Israel Company explains that the archaeological excavations there were part of the preparatory work within the framework of which traffic was detoured outside the area of the project and will include the construction of a new road and a bridge above an existing road and an active railway line. Approximately 250 million shekels will be invested in the project that is scheduled for completion in another two and a half years.
Two residential rooms were exposed of a wealthy estate that was built of ashlar stones. Archaeologists date the structure to the Fatimid period (late tenth century and first half of the eleventh century CE). A fountain made of mosaic covered with plaster and stone slabs was uncovered west of the building.
|Fountain and plumbing from medieval mansion in Ramla|
[Credit: Ron Peled/Israel Antiquities Authority]
According to Hagit Torgë, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “It seems that a private building belonging to a wealthy family was located there and that the fountain was used for ornamentation. This is the first time that a fountain has been discovered outside the known, more affluent quarters of Old Ramla.
Most of the fountains that we are aware of from this period in Ramla were concentrated around the White Mosque, which was the center of the Old City of Ramla. In addition, this is the first time that the fountain’s plumbing was discovered completely intact. The pipes of other fountains did not survive the earthquakes that struck the country in 1033 and 1068 CE”.
|A network of pipes, some made of terra cotta and connected with stone jars, led to the|
fountain discovered in Ramla [Credit: Ron Peled/Israel Antiquities Authority]
Ramla was established at the beginning of the eighth century CE. Its founding is ascribed to the ruler Suleiman Ibn ‘Abd al-Malik, and it was built as the district capital (Jund Filastin) and in certain periods its importance even eclipsed that of Jerusalem. Ramla grew and expanded during the Abbasid and Fatimid periods, and it was an important economic center in Israel as a result of its strategic location on the road from Cairo to Damascus and from Yafo to Jerusalem.
Numerous oil lamps, a baby’s rattle and parts of dolls made of bone were discovered in the excavation area.
Upon completion of the archaeological excavation, the fountain, which was in an excellent state of preservation, was removed from the area and was relocated in the Pool of the Arches compound in the city where it will be displayed.
Source: Israel Antiquities Authority [December 08, 2013]