A salvage excavation was conducted in September 1999 between Rambam and Ha-‘A
zma’ut Streets in Be’er Sheva‘ (A-3178*; map ref. NIG 1793–4/5727–9; OIG 1293–4/0727–9). The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Economic Development Corporation of Be’er Sheva‘ Ltd., was directed by Y. Baumgarten, with the assistance of F. Sonntag, G. Seriy, D. Varga, A. Israelov, V. Nikolsky, Y. Haimi, M. Berman and also V. Essman (surveying) and Y. Nagar (physical anthropology).
Five cist graves (Loci 101–105) that belonged to a cemetery from the Byzantine period were exposed. This cemetery was part of a ring of cemeteries that encircled the city in this period. The graves were dug in loess soil along a general east–west axis (depth 1.2–1.5 m) and were lined with limestone slabs. Covering slabs were discovered on all the graves. The western side of the graves was paved with stone slabs, upon which the heads of the deceased were placed. The deceased in four of the graves (102–105) were laid in a supine position, their heads facing west.
A child was interred in Grave 101 (length 0.85 m). Grave 102 (outer dimensions 0.9
× 1.7 m) contained an individual of undetermined gender, 11–12 years of age, as well as four bronze beads and a ring. A groove was fashioned along the edges of the covering stones to fit better over the walls of the grave. A woman, 40–60 years of age, was interred in Grave 103 (inner dimensions 0.50 × 1.45 m), together with wooden remains (coffin?) and an iron toggle pin. A male less than 50 years of age was uncovered in Grave 104 (outer dimensions 0.45 × 1.90 m) and a woman, 50–60 years of age, was buried in Grave 105 (0.55 × 1.65–1.70 m).