The burial cave was hewn in bedrock and contained nine loculi (Fig. 1). Its opening was hewn in the southern side of a rectangular shaft (length 0.8 m, width 0.6 m), at a depth of c. 1.0–1.5 m. The opening (width 0.4 m, height 0.65 m) had a rectangular frame to accommodate a roll-stone (Fig. 2). The round (diam. c. 0.65 m) and tapered stone was discovered c. 3 m outside the cave opening (Fig. 3). The opening of the cave led to a central burial chamber whose floor was covered with alluvium c. 0.5 m below the level of the entrance (Fig. 4). Loculi (average length 1.5–1.8 m) were installed in the walls of the cave, two in each of the burial chamber’s northern, western and eastern walls and three in its southern wall. The loculi were covered with coarsely dressed slabs of indigenous limestone. One of the closing slabs was discovered leaning against the southern wall (Fig. 5) and other closing slabs were found lying outside the cave, next to its opening. Fragments of at least one ossuary were found inside the cave, near the entrance to the cave and c. 2 m away from the entrance. The wall of one of the ossuaries was adorned with two incised compass-made rosette patterns surrounded by a frame (Fig. 6).
The architectural characteristics of the burial cave—the opening and its stepped frame, the roll-stone, loculi and closing slabs—are common in many tombs that have been documented in the necropolis of Jerusalem from the end of the Second Temple period (Kloner and Zissu 2003). The ossuary fragments substantiate the assumption that the cave was hewn for burial in the time between the late Second Temple period and the Bar Kokhba Revolt and was used by residents of the Jewish community in the area, perhaps from nearby Horbat Haratim.
Artifacts indicating that the area was inhabited by Jews at the end of the Second Temple period were discovered in several nearby sites, particularly Tel Gezer, Horbat Gader and Horbat Sharisha (Kloner 1976; Peterson-Solimani, Solimani and Weiss 2001).