During September 2000 a salvage excavation was conducted in a burial cave north of Netanya (Permit No. A-3288*; map ref. NIG 1876–80/6941–6; OIG 1376–80/1941–6), which was damaged by development work. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by A. Nagorsky, with the assistance of R. Badhi, H. Dangor (administration), V. Pirsky (surveying), N. Zak (drafting) and D.T. Ariel (numismatics).
The development work destroyed the southwestern part of the cave. The location of the entrance to the cave could not be determined and its entire plan could not be restored. The cave, located below a recently constructed building, was filled with construction debris and could only be partially excavated due to dangerous conditions.
The cave consisted of a rectangular chamber (2.25 × 3.10 m, height 2.3 m; Fig. 1). Arcosolia with troughs enclosed with a railing were hewn in its northern and eastern walls. The northern arcosolium (0.8 × 2.0 m, height 1 m) was excavated to the level of the top of the trough. The rock-cut ceiling of the eastern arcosolium was steeply inclined southward and its trough was trapezoidal (length 1.9 m, width at the northern end 0.75 m, width at the southern end 0.60 m, height from the floor of the tough 1.9 m). Ancient accumulations were discovered below the construction debris that filled the cave from the ceiling to the level of the troughs. A probe (0.5 × 0.5 m) next to the wall of the eastern burial bench was excavated in the accumulation, which included animal bones and crushed human bones.
The cave is located in the center of a large area, extending from the center of Netanya in the south to Kefar Vitqin in the north, which was used for burials in the Late Roman and Byzantine periods. F. Berger excavated several tombs during the British Mandate times and Y. Porat and Y. Levy excavated tombs in the Kefar Vitqin region (‘Atiqot 22:29*–42*). The rock-cut tombs excavated by E. van den Brink in the kurkar ridge in Netanya north contained sarcophagi that were common to the area between the kurkar ridge in Netanya and the Samaria Hills (HA–ESI 112:55*).