Archaeologists unearth 10th century estate and fountain with plumbing still intact
Archaeologists in Israel have unearthed an estate outside the district of Old Ramla, complete with a decorative fountain and a plumbing system which was found in tact and almost complete. It is the first time that such well-preserved plumbing, dating back more than 1,000 years, has been found in Israel.
The fountain, which is described as being in an excellent state of preservation, would have decorated the home of a wealthy family’s garden in the 10 th century. The ruins of the luxurious villa are the remains of an affluent estate that existed in the Fatimid period, which covers the late 10th century to the first half of the 11th century.
The fountain was made of mosaic covered with plaster and stone slabs and is connected to a system of pipes consisting of terracotta sections and connectors made of store jars. A large cistern and the system of pipes and channels that were used to convey water were discovered next to the villa.
“This is the first time that the fountain’s plumbing was discovered completely intact,” said Hagit Torgë, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. “The pipes of other fountains did not survive the earthquakes that struck the country in 1033 and 1068”.
Numerous oil lamps, a baby’s rattle and parts of dolls made of bone were also discovered in the excavation area, further supporting the belief that the house belonged to a wealthy family.
The discovery sheds light on the ingenious methods used to create water features in elaborate villas and decorate homes at the time.