During March 2002 a cave was documented at Horbat Gader (Permit No. A-3609*; map ref. NIG 19606/63706; OIG 14606/13706) after a backhoe damaged its ceiling while setting up an electric grid along the road from Latrun to the Nahshon Junction. The documentation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was carried out by Z. Greenhut and D. Weiss, assisted by V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying) and employees of the Israel Electric Company.
The cave (Fig. 1) included a square chamber (3 x 3 m, max. height c. 1.5 m) whose ceiling sloped from east to west. The entrance was probably set in the southern wall, as indicated by the brown soil that accumulated in the southern part of the chamber. The western part of the cave was filled with crushed bedrock and earth that collapsed inside when the backhoe damaged its ceiling. The eastern part remained virtually clear of debris or accumulated soil.
Four loculi (I–IV) with arched apertures were hewn in the chamber’s eastern wall. Three of them (I–III) had standard size (0.5 x 2.0 m, height 0.5 m), whereas the fourth was shorter (length 1.1 m). The hewing of a fifth loculus (V; depth 0.18 m) in the northern wall, next to the northeastern corner of the chamber, had begun but never materialized. Human bones that were detected in three of the loculi appear to have been interred as primary burials. Skull and bone fragments were discovered in the inner parts of Loculi II and III and a few bone remains were discerned in Loculus I; the osteological remains were not analyzed. The chamber did not yield any diagnostic finds; however, based on its architecture, the burial cave is dated to the time of the
Second Temple. Upon the conclusion of the documentation the breached opening of the cave was sealed and the cave was covered.