Two excavation areas (Fig. 2) were opened on the banks of Nahal Raqqafot: a cave was discovered on the eastern bank (Area A), and a quarry on the western bank (Area B).
Area A—the Cave
The excavation square (5.0 × 6.5 m) was opened east of the cave. The upper part of the entrance to the cave, facing the western bank of Nahal Raqqafot, was exposed. The entrance was round, and bore no signs of stone-working. Soil and refuse accumulated inside the cave (L2; width 3.6 m, height 2 m, depth 1.8 m), and its ceiling had collapsed. Rock-hewn steps were discovered near the entrance outside the cave: one in the north and one in the south. A third step, parallel to the cave opening, connected the two and led from the level of the rock (L1) down into the cave. The rock steps may preserve the original outline of the cave, before part of the ceiling collapsed (Fig. 3). The accumulated fill in the cave yielded non-diagnostic pottery sherds and a common coin of Agrippa I (41/2 CE; IAA 153434), which helps to determine when the cave went out of use.
Area B—the Quarry
Three excavation squares were opened around quarrying marks that were visible on the surface, on the eastern bank of Nahal Raqqafot, c. 250 m southeast of Area A. A quarry for building stones (average dimensions c. 0.3 × 0.7 m) was exposed. Severance channels, quarrying lines and partially quarried stones (L11, L12) were discovered. The quarry extended over the entire excavation area, and extended beyond its boundaries (Fig. 4).
Many marks of plowing, indicative of modern agricultural activity, were discerned on the surface of the hewn rock. A broken tine of an iron plow was found in the soil that accumulated over the quarry. In the western part of the excavation area, a wall (W13; max. height 0.4 m, length 3.5 m, width 0.3 m; Fig. 5) extended between two rock outcrops; it was built of a single row of fieldstones, and survived to a height of two courses. It was difficult to determine with certainty if this was a field wall, or part of a building. The few pottery sherds that were found in the area of the quarry date to the Byzantine period.
A cave and a quarry were discovered in the trial excavation in Nahal Raqqafot. Judging by the coin of Agrippa I that was found inside the cave, activity in or around the cave have taken place in the Early Roman period, but the nature of that activity remains unclear. According to the pottery finds, the quarry was apparently in use during the Byzantine period. The iron tine and plow-marks are indicative of a later agricultural activity in the area, while the wall at the western edge of the quarry was probably a field wall.