The irregularly shaped cave (L158; 5.0–5.2 × 5.0–5.8 m, height 2.0–2.5 m; Figs. 3, 4: Section 1–1), which was the larger of the two and located in the southwestern part of the excavation, was hewn in soft limestone. Signs of disintegration are apparent on the walls and ceiling. A hewn pillar (1.5 × 2.5 m; Figs. 57) was left at the northern end of the cave in order to support the ceiling. The bedrock forming the cave’s floor was leveled.
Four cupmarks (diam. and depth 0.2–0.4 m; Fig. 7) were hewn in the floor. The nature and function of the cupmarks are unclear.
Three almost rectangular openings (L151, L157, L162; upper width 0.7–0.8 × 1.0–1.1 m, bottom width 0.3 m, depth and height 0.8 m) were breached in the roof of the cave. Two openings (L151, L157; Figs. 8, 9) were installed in the corners of the cave, above the unutilized spaces on either side of the pillar. The third opening (L162; Fig. 10) was set above the cave’s southwestern corner. The three openings taper from the roof toward the inside of the cave, so that a person cannot pass through them. The nature of these openings is unclear; they might have been used to ventilate or illuminate the cave.
The original entrance to the cave was not found; it might have been situated in the center of the southern wall, but did not survive. The cave was entered through a broad opening hewn in the southern part of the cave at some later phase (Fig. 2). No habitation level was discovered inside the cave. A layer of soil (thickness 0.1 m) that had accumulated over the years on the cave’s floor contained a jar dating to the Iron Age I (Fig. 11:5).
The smaller cave (L153; diam. 1.3–1.5 m, depth 1.5 m; Fig. 12), which was elliptical and sloped northward, was found in the southeastern part of the excavation. Its quarrying was evidently never completed. Eroded soil found in the cave contained ceramic finds, including a body fragment of a bowl or krater from the Iron Age I (Fig. 11:2).
The hewn cistern (L155), c. 7 m northeast of the large cave (Fig. 13), comprised a round opening (diam. 1 m, depth 1 m) that led into a rectangular interior (c. 2.2 × 2.7 m, depth to bottom 2.3 m; Fig. 14). The installation’s walls were treated with gray plaster consisting of a layer of fine marl and ash (thickness 1–3 cm). A fragment of a pithos dating from the Iron Age I (Fig. 11:6) and two stone pounders that were used in processing an agricultural product (Fig. 15) were discovered inside the cistern.
A rock-hewn basin (L156; 0.6 × 0.8 m, depth 0.3 m; Fig. 16) that was apparently formed in a natural depression in the bedrock was exposed just south of the cistern. Presumably it was used to store water drawn from the cistern. A body fragment of an Iron Age I cooking pot (Fig. 11:3) was discovered in the alluvium fill that covered the basin.
The granary (L154; diam. 0.7–0.8 m, depth 0.8 m; Fig. 17) was hewn c. 4 m northwest of the elliptical cave. Alluvium soil devoid of any datable finds was discovered inside it.
In addition to the four cupmarks in the cave, seven cupmarks were found scattered throughout the area: a cluster of four (diam. 0.15–0.30, depth c. 0.1 m) was hewn in the bedrock above the northeastern corner of the large cave, south of Opening 157; a fifth cupmark (diam. 0.2 m, depth 0.1 m) was located south of them; another cupmark (diam. 0.2 m, depth 0.1 m) was hewn beside Basin 156 (Fig. 16); and an additional on (diam. and depth 0.3 m)—in the northwestern corner of the excavation area.
The remains are agricultural in nature and probably belong to a farming settlement that also included the adjacent remains of the building and the surveyed installations (Eisenberg 2012). The ceramic finds were scant and date to the Iron I (Fig. 11), similar to the assemblage that was discovered in the adjacent buiilding. In the alluvium that had eroded downhill from the ruin were body fragments of a bowl, a cooking pot and juglet from the Iron Age I (Fig. 11:1, 4, 7, respectively). A Byzantine-period bowl fragment (Fig. 11:8), may have also been swept down from the ruin, indicating human activity at the site during this period.