During October 2000 a burial cave was documented on Raba‘ al-‘Adawiyya Street, north of the Church of Eleona, on the Mount of Olives (map ref. NIG 22320/63175; OIG 17320/13175), in the wake of tourist development work carried out by the East Jerusalem Development Corporation. The documentation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was performed by R. Abu Raya and Z. Adawi, assisted by R. Graff (surveying and drafting).
The cave (Fig. 1) is hewn in the soft nari bedrock. It consisted of a large rectangular burial chamber with a vaulted ceiling (c. 2.2 × 3.5 m, height 1.4 m) and a smaller burial chamber (1.2 × 2.0 m, height 1.2 m) with a flat ceiling to its south. The cave was entered through a breach opened by mechanical equipment in the eastern end of the ceiling. The original entrance was via a rectangular opening (c. 0.6 × 1.8 m) cut into the ceiling of the large burial chamber and covered with stone slabs (width c. 0.7 m, thickness 0.2 m). This chamber was mostly filled with alluvium that entered the cave after it was damaged. Five hewn burial troughs (depth c. 0.6 m) aligned north–south (average size c. 0.5 × 2.2 m) were in the large chamber. The middle trough served as a passage to an arched doorway (c. 0.5 × 0.8 m) that connected the two chambers. A rectangular stone (0.4 × 0.6 m, thickness 0.1 m) that served as a covering slab was found in one of the troughs. Two troughs (average size c. 0.5 × 2.0 m), oriented east–west, were hewn in the small chamber. They were filled with gray soil, upon which a wall (c. 0.35 × 2.00 m, height 0.5 m) of small round fieldstones (average diam. c. 0.2 m) was built.
The plan of the cave and its location indicate that it should be ascribed to the cemetery from the Byzantine period on the Mount of Olives.