Pipes found in Ramle
Pipes found in RamleAssaf Peretz, Courtesy of Antiquities Authority

An archeological dig south of Highway 44 has turned up the foundations of a home and garden believed to be 900 years old.

The home was built from hewn stone. The fountain included a mosaic and a system of ceramic pipes. The remains of a large well and irrigation systm were found nearby.

About 20 meters to the south archaeologists found a furnace that was apparently used to make iron tools.

Antiquities Authority expert Hagit Turgeh said, “The place was apparently the home of a well-to-do family, and the fountain was apparently decorative. This is the first time a fountain has been found outside the known wealthy neighborhoods of ancient Ramla.”

Most of the ancient fountains that have been found were located near what was once the city center, she explained.

“This is also the first time a fountain’s pipe has been found entirely intact,” she added. “The other fountain’s pipes did not survive the earthquakes of 1033 and 1068.”

The entire area seems to have been abandoned in the eleventh century, apparently in the wake of the earthquakes.

The city of Ramla was established in the 8th century, and for some time was one of the most important cities in the land of Israel. The city’s location on the road from Cairo to Damascus, and from Yafo to Jerusalem, added to its importance as a central trade point.

The current archaeological digs are being done as part of the preparations for a road project in the area. The latest discoveries were moved and will be displayed elsewhere.

The work on Highway 44 is expected to take another two and a half years. Planners hope it will significantly reduce traffic jams during rush hour.