Area A yielded a cave with a front courtyard to its south (Fig. 3). Although the interior of the cave was not excavated due to objection of ultra-orthodox adherents, two use phases were identified: it seems that in the first phase the cave was used for burial, whereas in the second phase it was converted into a charcoal kiln.

The cave’s opening and its courtyard (L106) were covered with fills of burnt soil. Three rock-hewn steps (Fig. 4) led from the courtyard into the cave. The steps were covered with brown alluvium (L115) that had accumulated after the cave was no longer used, but prior to its use as a charcoal kiln. Two monolithic stone columns (height 1.5–2.0 m) flanked the steps. One column was discovered in situ, and the other, which was found broken, blocked the entrance to the cave (Fig. 5).

The courtyard was delimited by stone walls. The eastern wall (W113) was built of medium and large fieldstones, some of which were probably in secondary use. An especially large stone (length c. 2.2 m; Fig. 6) was found in the wall. The southern end of W113 adjoined another wall (W112), with which it formed a corner. Wall 112 was likewise constructed of large fieldstones and was preserved to a height of two courses (Fig. 7). Although not completely exposed, it seems that W112 delineated the courtyard from the west as well; the wall’s northwestern continuation was visible beneath the fills and vegetation.

As the cave was not excavated, it is impossible to determine the use and date of the impressive monoliths that stood at the entrance to the cave. No datable finds were discovered in the courtyard either, in part because of the later use of the cave as a charcoal kiln. The monoliths, however, may suggest that this was a burial cave, and possibly even a place of ritual significance.

In the second phase, the cave was converted into to a charcoal kiln. Most of the cave and the courtyard, as well as their surroundings, were covered with layers of burnt soil, very thin quarrying debris, ash and charcoal. These had been discarded from the cave, most probably following each sequence of burning wood in the production of charcoal. The cave’s interior was found filled with black alluvium (L111; Fig. 8), making it impossible of discerning chisel marks or to identify the original contours of the cave. These disappeared over time, probably due to the collapse of boulders from the ceiling, and possibly as a result of the fire within the charcoal kiln. The boulders were used to construct walls or stone partitions along the long walls of the cave, and possibly served to support the ceiling.


Area B (Figs 9–11) yielded a clearance heap (L205–L207; 5 × 8 m, height 1 m) of small stones mixed with terra-rossa soil and the remains of field walls (W203, W204, W220) built in a variety of construction methods below the heap and above it. Wall 204 was constructed of a single row of large fieldstones along a northwest–southeast axis and was preserved to a height of one course. The course of the wall was visible outside the excavation area as well (total distance c. 13 m); beyond that it could not be discerned, probably due to the thick vegetation that characterizes the environment. Part of the wall was founded on the clearance heap and therefore postdates it. The wall nay have served to demarcate agricultural plots. Wall 203 was built of two rows of fieldstones (length c. 6 m, width 1.8 m) and was aligned in a north–south direction. Wall 220 was uncovered in the southwestern corner of the excavation area and followed a slightly curved route, in a general east–west direction. The lack of datable finds made it difficult to determine the chronological order of the walls, and it is possible that several of them are the ruins of one building.


Area C yielded a round installation (diam. c. 2 m; Fig. 12) built of a single row of large fieldstones (W302; width 0.5–0.6 m; Fig. 13) founded on bedrock. Alluvial fill (L301) mixed with various-sized fieldstones was found inside the installation. The installation may have enclosed agricultural soil where a tree was planted. No datable finds were discovered in either the installation or its vicinity.


Area D yielded an elliptical rock-cut basin (L400; diam. c. 0.65–1.00 m, depth 0.2 m; Figs. 14, 15). No datable finds were discovered in either the basin or its vicinity (L401).


The uncovered remains seem to be agricultural-industrial in nature and probably belonged to one of the nearby settlements. No datable artifacts were found; however, it is known that several charcoal kilns operated in the Shephelah during the Ottoman period; therefore, the charcoal kiln was in all likelihood installed in the cave during this period. Although the cave’s interior was not excavated, its courtyard, consisting of a stepped-entrance, and the two stone columns in the opening suggest that the cave was initially used for burial.