Of the 46 tombs discovered, 24 were excavated (Table 1). Most were simple pit graves dug in the sand, with no covering slabs and without any grave markers. Some were cist tombs dug in sand and lined with coarse fieldstones. All of the tombs were aligned in an east–west direction. Only the bones discovered in the excavated tombs were studied: they were visually inspected in the field, and were subsequently removed from the ground and turned over to the Ministry of Religious Affairs for reburial. No funerary offerings were discovered in the tombs. Several pottery sherds, including a fragment of an Iron Age krater (Fig. 6:1), a jar fragment (Fig. 6:2) from the first century BCE and a jar fragment (Fig. 6:3) from the eighth–ninth centuries CE, were found in the soil that had accumulated in and around the tombs.
 
The osteological finds in the excavated tombs include cranial fragments, teeth and postcranial bones, most of which were poorly preserved. Generally, the bones in the tombs were anatomically articulated, which is indicative of primary burial. Most of the individuals were placed on their right side in a general east–west direction, with the head in the west and the face turned southward. The arms were randomly positioned. This burial position is typical of a Muslim population (Gorzalczany 2007; Nagar, forthcoming). In only five of the tombs (5, 30, 40, 43, 53) it was impossible to reconstruct the position of the deceased. Since the interred were buried in very similar positions, it seems that an administrative body was involved in their burial.
The age of the deceased was determined mainly according to the developmental stage of the teeth and their level of abrasion, and sex was inferred mostly from the morphology of the skull and pelvis and the dimensions of the head of the femur; in most cases, however, additional accepted methods of estimation were employed. Some of the long bones were well-preserved, the dimensions of the femur allowed us to reconstruct the height of several of the individuals. Twenty-six individuals were discovered in the twenty-four excavated tombs: children, adolescents and adults of both sexes, spanning a wide age range. This demographic cross-section is characteristic of a rural population. However, no children less than three years of age were found in the tombs. The reason for this might be that the Muslim population in the Mamluk and Ottoman periods preferred to bury infants in a separate cemetery, as was the case for the large cemeteries in Yafo (the Qishla; Nagar, forthcoming) and in Jerusalem (Mamilla; Nagar and Sklar, forthcoming). Alternatively, infants may have been buried in the residential area, a custom characteristic of rural Bedouin populations since the dawn of history (Nagar and Eshed 2001). The date of the cemetery could not be determined, since no funerary offerings were discovered and the ceramic assemblage is mixed.
 
Table 1. Description of the tombs and finds
Tomb no.
Tomb type
Age estimation of the deceased (years)
Sex estimation of the deceased
Comments
T1
Pit
<20
?
A mandible of a child 3–6 years of age; it may have come from an adjacent grave that was destroyed.
T2
Pit
9–10
 
T3
Pit
2–4
Bones scattered as a result of damage to the grave; they are representative of two individuals.
<20
Male
T4
Cist
30–40
Male
 
T5
?
2–4
 
T7
Cist
20–30
Female
 
T8
Cist
20–30
Female
A bronze bracelet on the wrist of a right hand.
T9
Pit
20–35
Male
Estimated height: 163 cm.
T10
Pit
30–40
Male
Estimated height: 164 cm.
T11
Pit
<40
?
 
T12
Pit
<20
?
 
T13
Cist
25–40
Female
Below T7.
T26
Pit
18–20
 
T27
Pit
20–30
Female
 
T28
Cist
40–50
?
Fig. 3.
T30
?
<50
Male
The grave was damaged by a tractor.
T31
Pit
50–60
Male
Fig. 4.
T32
Pit
20–35
Male
 
T33
Pit
2–3
 
T34
Pit
30–40
Male
Fig. 5.
T35
Pit
<20
?
It is unclear if two separate pit graves were discovered or there were two individuals in a single grave.
4–6
T40
?
30–40
Male
Estimated height: 181 cm. The tomb was damaged by a tractor.
T41
Pit
25–30
Female
 
T43
?
30–50
Male
The tomb was damaged by a tractor.