In November 2014, a salvage excavation was conducted in the Ligad Center, Modi‘in (Permit No. A-7264; map ref. 196465–70/647140–44; Fig. 1), to document a burial cave that was damaged in the course of development work. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Schonfeld Group—Aviv Danieli, was directed by R. Toueg, with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), M. Kahan (surveying), H. Ben-Ari (GPS), R. Berin (plans), M. Shuiskaya-Arnov (pottery drawing) and V. Eshed (physical anthropology).
A burial cave with three loculi was excavated (Fig. 2). The bedrock in the vicinity of the cave consisted of a hard layer of limestone (thickness c. 2 m) over soft chalk, in which a family burial cave with three loculi was hewn (Fig. 3). Two of the loculi were oriented north-northeast (L101—depth 2.2 m, width 0.75 m, height 0.75 m; L102—depth 2.2 m, width 0.75 m, height 0.70 m; Fig. 2: Section 1–1) and one east-southeast (L103—depth 2.1 m, width 0.75 m, height 0.75 m; Fig. 2: Section 2–2). Human bones were found in the loculi (see anthropological report below). A square depression was carved in the floor of loculus L102, at its northern end (Fig. 4). A persimmon type juglet dating to the first century BCE–first century CE (Fig. 5:1) was found beneath skulls in loculus L103. A shallow niche, whose function is unknown, was exposed in the eastern wall of the loculus (Fig. 6). In front of the loculi was a square chamber that was completely destroyed during the development work. Fragments of a bag-shaped jar, also dating to the first century BCE–first century CE were found outside loculus L103 (L100; Fig. 5:2).
Loculi were discovered in the cave; the front of the cave its central space were not preserved. The bones in the loculi were poorly preserved, and scattered with no evidence to anatomical articulation, suggesting that the tomb was robbed in antiquity. The poor preservation of the bones made it difficult to fully reconstruct the anthropological measurements. The skeletons were examined in the excavation area and handed over for reburial.
The fragments of human bones in loculus L101 represented, according to multiple right tibiae, at least two adult individuals (Bass 1987).
Fragments of non-diagnostic human bones, representing at least one adult individual, were found in loculus L102.
The fragments of human bones in loculus L103 represented, according to multiple femur remains, at least four adult individuals (Bass 1987), and on the basis of the stages of epiphyseal fusion in the long bones, one adolescent 15–19 years of age (Johnston and Zimmer 1989). Two of the adults were 20–30 years of age according to the degree of dental erosion (Hillson 1986); one was a female, according to the vertical diameter of the head of the humerus (Bass 1987).
A family burial cave with three loculi containing the remains of several individuals was exposed. The artifacts were meager and it seems that the cave was robbed in the past.
Bass W.M. 1987. Human Osteology: A Laboratory and Field Manual. Columbia, Mo. Pp. 93–258.
Hillson S. 1986. Teeth. Cambridge. Pp. 176–201.
Johnston F.E. and Zimmer L.O. 1989. Assessment of Growth and Age in the Immature Skeleton. In M.Y. Iscan and A.R. Kenneth eds. Reconstruction of Life from the Skeleton. New-York. Pp. 11–22.
Spivak P. 2012. Modi‘in, Industrial Zone. HA-ESI-124.