The cave was hewn in a natural wall of hard limestone bedrock. An open entry corridor (width 0.9 m, depth below surface 0.2 m) was hewn outside the cave, leading to its entrance (0.7 × 0.8 m). A roughly hewn rectangular sealing stone (0.6 × 0.8 m) that apparently fit the entrance and closed it was discovered in the front. The stone, found lying on the ground, was covered with an accumulation of silt and collapse; it was most likely removed from its original location in antiquity.
Three rock-cut steps descended from the entrance to an elongated standing pit (length 2 m, width 0.5–0.6 m; Fig. 3) in the center of the cave. Above the standing pit, close to the entrance, was a hewn recess in the ceiling (0.7 × 0.7 m; Fig. 3: Section 1-1) that allowed one to stand upright in the pit.
The bedrock on three sides of the standing pit was hewn and leveled to receive the deceased and the funerary offerings. A kokh (length 1.2 m, width 0.2–0.5 m; Fig. 3: Section 1-1) containing a decorated stone ossuary (Figs. 4, 5) was hewn in the northern corner of the cave. Half a coconut was found in situ beneath the ossuary (Fig. 6). Rock-cutting marks and removal of large chunks of bedrock from the walls of the cave, particularly from the northwestern side (Fig. 7), were visible.
Signs indicating the presence of an additional cave, next to the northeastern side of the burial cave, were discovered in the area. The quarrymen, hewing the burial cave, were apparently aware of the neighboring cave and took precautionary measures not to damage it. This is evinced by the irregular side and the protrusion that forms another kokh (0.7 × 1.0 m) at the southern end.
The finds recovered from the cave are numerous and diverse. A hoard of bronze vessels was found, including a ladle (Fig. 8), a kokh bottle, a small bottle and an amulet; organic matter, including half a coconut (Fig. 6) and a piece of cloth that was probably part of a prayer shawl or shroud; stone artifacts, including an ossuary decorated with large and small rosettes and a stone lid; and glass artifacts, including 100 glass beads and fragments of perfume vials. The ceramic finds included a lamp with a double nozzle decorated with floral ornaments that was probably imported from Ephesus (Fig. 9), folded and Herodian lamps, fusiform vessels, a cooking pot, conical bowls and a juglet; it appears that the antiquities robbers who plundered the cave did not succeed in looting all its contents.
Evidence of at least twelve interments was found in the cave, among them four children, two to four years of age, a youth, 15–20 years of age, and seven adults, 20–50 years of age, at least four of them are females. One of the children suffered from severe anemia, which is alluded by swelling and porousness of the cranial vault.
With the exception of the coconut half, none of the skeletons or funerary offerings were found in situ. They were probably swept to the front of the cave by flood waters that penetrated it and left behind fine silt, spread all over the cave. The flooding also damaged the organic matter in the cave; evidence of papyrus that was only preserved by powdered bits was noted in the bronze amulet. The coconut half exposed in situ inside the burial kokh was not damaged by the flood because the kokh was higher than the floor of the cave and was not inundated with water during the flood.
The artifacts in the cave attest to the wealth of the deceased who were probably members of the ‘En Gedi settlement. The assemblage of bronze objects, the imported clay lamp and coconut half seem to reflect commercial ties with neighboring countries. The ossuary, which is decorated in the Jerusalem style, illustrates the deceased affinity for Jerusalem. The wealth of finds requires in-depth examination and study. This burial cave was hewn in the cliff itself, inside hard limestone bedrock, unlike other burial caves exposed in the vicinity of ‘En Gedi, and it is quite obvious that a great deal of effort was invested in its quarrying. The ceramic and metallic assemblages in the cave date it to the Second Temple period—the second and first centuries BCE.