In April 2015, an excavation was conducted near ‘Ein Haudin Moshav Nes Harim (Permit No. A-7388; map ref. 205003–32/627872–904; Fig. 1), prior to construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by N. Ben-Ari (photography), with the assistance of N. Nehama (administration), V. Essman, Y. Shmidov and M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), P. Betzer (consultation), E. Belashov (plan) and I. Lidsky-Reznikov (pottery drawing). E. Marco and A. Zilberstein carried out preliminary antiquities inspections at the site.
An irregular shaped cave (max. dimensions 3.8 × 7.1 m; Figs. 2, 3) was exposed in marl rock. The entrance to the cave, most of its ceiling and part of its walls were destroyed during construction works. The excavation focused on the northern half of the cave, where part of the ceiling was preserved above the eastern wall. A wide trench (1.5–1.7 × 3.8 m) was excavated in the center of the cave.
An accumulation of terra rossa (L100) above a fill consisting of dense fieldstones mixed with terra rossa (L101; Fig. 4) were exposed in the cave; the fill may have been intentionally deposited in the cave to block it. A fill of terra rossa soil mixed with crumbled marl and fieldstones (L104) was discovered below the stone fill of L101. The absence of any signs of rock-cuttings suggests that the cave was formed naturally. Fragments of pottery were found in the layers of fill (L101, L104), and include Iron Age II hole-mouth jars (Fig. 5:1, 2); Early Roman bowls (Fig. 5:3, 4), goblet (Fig. 5:5), cooking pot (Fig. 5:7), jars (Fig. 5:8–11) and a jug (Fig. 5:12); Late Roman or Byzantine bowl (Fig. 5:13) and a jar (Fig. 5:14); and a goblet fragment (Fig. 5:6) of uncertain date, but possibly also Early Roman. The ceramic finds may indicate the periods when the cave was used, although they may have been swept into the cave from a nearby settlement.