During April 2004 a salvage excavation was conducted in a burial cave discovered by the antiquities inspector R. Getzov along the route of the planned detour for Highway 90, west of Tel Hazor (Permit No. A-4149; map ref. NIG 2524/7693; OIG 2024/2693). The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Department of Public Works, was directed by N. Getzov (surveying and drafting), with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqoby (administration), H. Smithline (photography), Y. Nagar (physical anthropology), D. Barshad (regional archaeologist) and Y. Alexandre (district archaeologist).
The cave was hewn in the northern slope of a qirton spur, c. 500 m southwest of the large rampart of Hazor’s Lower City, and c. 600 m south of the Nahal Makhberam channel. To the west of the cave is the Druze cave site, which contains numerous caves, some used for dwellings and some for burial.
The entrance to the cave was at the bottom of a square shaft, in whose southern wall was a narrow hewn opening that led into a rectangular chamber (Figs. 1, 2). A long pit in the center of the chamber divided it into two spaces and a doorway in its southern wall accessed another chamber, roughly elliptical in shape. The cave was initially used in the Intermediate Bronze Age and reused at the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age. Numerous fragments of pottery vessels from the Intermediate Bronze Age were found. These included jars, cooking pots and delicate vessels that were wheel-thrown and imported from northern Syria. The remains of five individuals found in the rectangular chamber were attributed to this phase.
At the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age the pit in the front chamber was filled in. Many stones were discovered in front of the entrance and among them were fragments of pottery vessels, bones and soil from the first burial phase. The stones were probably used to close the entrance shaft when the cave was no longer used at the end of the first phase. When it was reopened in the Middle Bronze Age, the stones were rolled down into the burial chamber where they piled up. A stone platform was installed in the inner elliptical room, apparently for laying the deceased to rest. Above the platform and on the chamber’s floor were the remains of five interments and to the west of the platform was an intact jar. When the cave was no longer used the shaft was blocked again with large boulders. A ceramic jug, dating to MB IIA, was placed at the top of the blockage, being clear evidence that no one entered the cave until it was exposed during the road work.