The cave entrance is situated in the center of a broad dome, part of a shoulder that descends northwest from the Mount Kamon ridge, at the top of a local watershed between Nahal Shezor and Nahal Zuf. The cave entrance is c. 1 km north of the village of Mikhmanim and c. 1.9 km east of Khirbat Rashash, on the outskirts of Karmiel. The Bet Ha-Kerem Valley, at the foot of the hill where the cave is located and about 1 km to its north, provides a fairly convenient route from the cave to the Phoenician port city of ‘Akko. According to the Bedouin residents of nearby Kammaneh, the name of the cave is Ras Abu Darbla;it was used in the past to conceal property that the Bedouin would rob in the Bet Ha-Kerem Valley.
Kamon Cave is a large, natural karstic cave (total length 225 m) situated at a height of 378 m asl. The cave consists of a central chamber that was divided by later collapses into secondary cavities that extend along its edges. North of the central chamber, a network of tunnels, forming a hiding refuge, developed. Shallow vertical shafts connect the hiding refuge to the central chamber (Fig. 1).
The cavities in the cave were formed in dolomite rock of Sakhnin Formation. Evidence collected during the fieldwork carried out in all parts of the cave indicate when the cave was used and the principal areas of activity. Most of the human activity in the cave occurred in the main hall (Cavity C) and adjacent spaces. In the deep cavities of the cave (F, G, H), which were extremely difficult to reach, no archaeological finds were discovered whatsoever. Several finds dating to Iron Age II were collected in the central hall, but the vast majority of the artifacts discovered in Cavities C, D and E can be attributed to the early Hellenistic period. It therefore seems that the cave was used at that time as a refuge for a group of people who had fled the battles that took place in the area during the Wars of the Diadochi (below).
The cave entrance opens into a vertical space in a small depression (sinkhole) between rocks and boulders. A low passageway at the bottom of the space leads west, to low cavities (A, B) whose floors descend west toward the main cavity in the cave (C; 18 × 21 m, more than 4 m in height)—a large circular hall divided into secondary spaces because of changes in the level of the ceiling and floor, natural columns and piles of collapse. The floor of the hall is covered with dark muddy sediment, numerous stones and collapsed boulders. Many archaeological finds were discovered throughout the hall, indicating that this cavity was the main space in which human activity transpired. The artifacts included many fragments of Galilean Coarse Ware jars (Fig. 2), an iron axe and a bronze coin.
A built bench of indigenous fieldstones was in the western part of the hall. Apparently, it was leveled and raised above the rock collapse covering the floor of the chamber so that a group of people could be comfortable. Several bases of large jars were found on the floor of the hall, around the bench (Fig. 3). The vessels were placed between the stone collapse and beneath active stalactites, and may have been used for storing water by the refugees hiding in the cave.
A continuous stepped protuberance from the ceiling in the eastern part of the center of the hall creates a clear separation between the hall area and the complex of cavities to its east (E). Below this step and between the collapse of large stones is an elongated cavity, very difficult to move in, that continues below the floor of the cave, east of the hall (L103). A small ceramic bottle with two horizontal handles, characteristic of the late Persian–early Hellenistic periods, fragments of an open lamp and an arrowhead were discovered inside the cavity. The upper level of Cavity E, next to the main hall, is lower than the hall. A Hellenistic lamp containing eight black and white agate beads (Fig. 4) was discovered, buried inside a narrow crack in the northern wall of this level (L104). The beads may have been part of a beaded bracelet, but the string connecting them did not survive. The lamp type is common in Israel from the mid-fourth century BCE until the second century BCE. At the bottom of the upper level are two broad vertical shafts that access the lower level, which is an elongated cavity covered with stone collapse. The southern side of the cavity is delimited by the wall of the cave, in which there is an open natural horizontal fissure (L102). The hoard reported by the hikers was found on the rock inside the fissure and comprised two silver earrings, three boat-shaped silver earrings, two silver rings, five silver bracelets, a bronze ring, a stone seal and a glass seal (Fig. 5). Jewelry of this kind was previously found in assemblages from the fifth and fourth centuries BCE and is very common throughout the Persian Empire. Remains of wool, woven with warp and woof threads, was found on the jewelry, evidence that the cache was bundled in cloth. Together with the jewelry were two tetradrachms bearing the name of Alexander the Great, the later one minted between the years 311 and 305 BCE.
The northern side of the central hall (D) is an open space that slopes down to the north. Large collapsed rocks are scattered throughout the cavity, and a variety of archaeological artifacts was found above and below it. At the northern end of Cavity D, a shallow vertical shaft leads to a low hall (L107) delimited by narrow vertical fissures. This is an intermediate space that separates the hall area from the inner cavities of the cave (F, G, H).