A burial cave was discovered in December 2000 on the western slope of Issawiya village (Permit No. A-3350*; map ref. NIG 22350/63372; OIG 17350/13372), following the expansion of a courtyard. The cave, which had previously been plundered, was documented by R. Abu Raya and Z. ‘Adawi, with the assistance of S. Dan and R. Kahati, R. Graff (drafting) and N. Ze’evi (pottery drawing).
The cave (Figs. 1, 2) consisted of a square burial chamber (2.7 × 2.8 m, height 1.5 m) with a hewn rectangular standing pit (0.85 × 1.80 m, depth 1.1 m) in its center. Five kokhim were cut in the walls of the burial chamber, at floor level. The three kokhim in the southeastern wall and the kokh in the southwestern wall were rectangular (average dimensions 0.60 × 2.15 m, height 0.8 m) and their ceilings were flat. The kokh in the northeastern wall had somewhat different dimensions (0.55 × 2.35 m, height 0.9 m) and its ceiling was convex. Another kokh (0.55 × 2.10 m, height 1.05 m) was hewn in the southeastern wall of the standing pit, 0.35 m below the pit's floor level. A bone repository was carved (diam. c. 0.8 m, depth 0.3 m) in the northern corner of the burial chamber.
The cave was halfway filled with an accumulation of light gray soil, which was partially removed when the tomb was looted. The remaining accumulation in the cave contained a few human bones and several non-diagnostic pottery fragments. Three intact pottery vessels, dating to the Early Roman period (first century CE), were turned over to the excavators by villagers, who claimed they were originally taken away from the cave. These included a late type of a spindle bottle (Fig. 3:1), a piriform juglet (Fig. 3:2) and a radial Jerusalem-type lamp (Fig. 3:3). Based on the plan and the finds, the cave appears to be part of Jerusalem’s cemetery from the Early Roman period, joining three other caves from the same period that were excavated nearby (HA–ESI 111).