During extensive salvage excavations carried out during the years 2004-2008 in a large Early Islamic industrial area at the vicinities of Ramla, in Central Israel, an unparalleled industrial device was unearthed. The star-shaped, soil embedded installation, whose lower part was preserved, consisted of a central pottery jar surrounded by five minor jars, linked by ceramic pipes. Evidence of heat was observed mainly around the central vessel, and metal hollow cones perforated in the tip were found inside the surrounding jars. Although the manufacturing procedures and operation techniques of the installation are not completely clear, it is proposed that the installation is part of an industrial workshop or an alchemy laboratory. Both industry and alchemy were well-developed during the Early Islamic period and very often closely related, to the point that sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between them. The identification proposed is based on comparisons with tools described in literary sources, and somewhat later drawings and etchings. Circumstantial ceramic evidence was found, as well as the proximity of a bathhouse whose guests could have been the consumers of perfumes and unguents seem to reinforce this possibility. Due to the poor state of preservation of the device and the lack of available comparisons, the identification proposed here is tentative, and future research coupled with eventual new discoveries is needed in order to clarify this matter.
|Translated title of the contribution||A Possible Alchemist Apparatus from the Early Islamic Period Excavated at Ramla, Israel|
|Number of pages||22|
|State||Published - 1 Sep 2010|
- Early Islamic Period
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