In June 2017, after a two-year lapse, a trial excavation was renewed on the summit of Tel Sasa (Permit No. A-7450; map ref. 23710/770450) with the resumption of development work at the site. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by Kibbutz Sasa, was directed by A. Berger and M. Peleg (photography, surveying and digital and photogrammetric documentation), with the assistance of E. Hillman (administration), R. Liran (surveying and drafting) and A. Shapiro (GPS and mapping). The dating of modern finds was also assisted by members of Kibbutz Sasa, among them D. Raziel and R. Rashakas, who have amassed information about the site since the kibbutz’s establishment.
The cave has a main chamber (3.3 × 3.3 m, 1.1–1.2 m high) and 12 loculi (c. 0.6 m wide, c. 1 m high, c. 1.9 m long). The loculi appear to have been hewn to a certain standard and their dimensions were generally similar. Two double-width cells (c. 1.2 m) that led through an arched opening to inner loculi were found in the southeast corner of the chamber.
Underground cavities and burial caves are known at Kibbutz Sasa. Three of these caves were excavated in the past and yielded relatively rich archaeological finds, which enabled them to be dated to the Roman period and attributed to the Jewish settlement that was located there until the Byzantine period (Davis and Zias 1975
; Syon and Nagar 2014
), after which they were used until the Mamluk and Ottoman periods (Permit No. A-6658). The currently excavated burial cave adds further detail to the map of Jewish burial sites around the site and increases our understanding of the ancient underground features used by Sasa’s inhabitants in former times (Fig. 6).
Davis D. and Zias J. 1975. Sasa – A Burial Cave. HA 53:3 (Hebrew).
Rachewsky R. 2018. News of the Week. Kibbutz Sasa Bulletin 1870:2.
Reshkes R. 2018. ‘AasNisimAsa’ has been stirred from his eternal rest. Kibbutz Sasa Bulletin 1870:11.