In June 2018, a salvage excavation was conducted to document a quarry and a cave to the northeast of Shoham, on the northwest fringes of Kh. el-Bira (Permit No. A-8319; map ref. 196567–85/658586–609; Fig. 1), prior to construction work. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by Yahav Nahmias Ltd., was directed by D. Masarwa, with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), Y. Shmidov (surveying and drafting), A. Peretz (field photography), A. Dagot (GPS) and P. Gendelman (scientific guidance).
The quarry was small (L100; 2 × 3 m, depth 1.3 m; Fig. 2). It exhibited quarrying marks and severance channels for building stones. A partially detached stone was found on the bedrock floor (0.4 × 1.0 m; Fig. 3) surrounded by dressing marks.
The opening to the cave (0.5 × 0.6 m; Fig. 4) was hewn in the north wall of the quarry. A rock-cut groove around the opening probably accommodated a roll-stone, suggesting that the cave was intended for burial. The opening led to a small chamber (L101; 1.10 × 2.03 m; Fig. 5), whose walls retained marks of partially completed quarrying. A step (0.32 × 0.50 m; Fig. 6) was hewn on the cave floor.
Although it is likely that the cave was intended for burial, like a nearby cave that was excavated in the past (Elisha 2015
), it is obvious that the cave was never used for this purpose. It is thus impossible to date the cave, although the quarry probably predates it.