The cave is located on the southwestern slopes of Tel Qiryat Yeʽarim, c. 300 m from the tell’s summit. The excavation was conducted in the northeastern corner of a rock-cut, Iron Age IIB–C burial cave that had been severely damaged during the development work (Fig. 1). Several excavations were conducted on the tell in recent years (‘Adawi 2017; Finkelstein et al. 2018).
In the cave (1.5 × 3.3 m, height 2 m; Figs. 2, 3), part of a hewn standing pit (L104; 0.9 × 1.7 m, depth 0.8 m; Figs. 2, 3) a leveled bedrock floor around it were uncovered. The standing pit contained an accumulation of soil, pottery and human bones. Three principal layers of accumulated soil (L101–L103) were revealed above the cave floor. The lower layers, L103 (thickness 0.25 m; Fig. 4) and L102 (thickness 0.6–0.8 m; Fig. 5), yielded potsherds and human bones. The pottery from L103 may have originally been placed directly on the rock floor. Layer 103 was surrounded by a row of medium-sized stones in two different places on the floor. The stones were probably placed to demarcate the pile of pottery and bones in the cave’s corner, thus creating a repository and enabling the cave’s reuse. The upper layer, L101 (thickness 0.2–0.4 m), consisted of alluvial soil devoid of finds.
The pottery from the cave consists of dozens of locally produced vessels, including bowls, various kinds of jars, jugs, dipper juglets, piriform juglets, black juglets and pinched lamps. The assemblage is dated to Iron Age IIB–C. One jug into which bones had deliberately been placed was also found (Fig. 6).
Given that finds from Iron Age IIB–C were recovered from nearby Tel Qiryat Yeʽarim (Finkelstein et al. 2018:57–61), the burials in this cave probably derive from the population that used to live in the ancient settlement.