In February 2017, a trial excavation was conducted at Khirbat el-Bira in the northern industrial zone of Shoham (Permit No. A-7935; map ref. 19652–6/65867–8; Fig. 1), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by A. Suissa, was directed by Y. Elisha, with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), A. Peretz (field photography), M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), N. Zak (plans), V. Eshed (physical anthropology) and A. Dagot (GPS).
The uncovered cave contributes to our understanding of the quarrying process of burial caves in the region. The cave, whose quarrying had probably begun when the nearby cave was filled to capacity, clearly had room to hew additional loculi. The quarrying, however, was halted for an unclear reason, possibly when the settlement was abandoned.