During May–June 2003 a salvage excavation was conducted along the eastern Road No. 1 of the Hevel Modi‘in industrial zone (Permit No. A-3914*; map ref. NIG 19650/65735; OIG 14650/15735), following trial excavations that uncovered ancient remains. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by U. ‘Ad, with the assistance of V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying and drafting), inspectors from the IAA Central District and the Hevel Modi‘in Economic Development Company.
The excavation was carried out on the eastern fringes of Khirbat Burnat (HA-ESI 114:46*–47*) where a cave and a wall were exposed (Fig. 1).
Three squares were opened in the cave (12 × 14 m) and three layers of fill were discerned. The upper layer (thickness 20 cm) contained finds from the Ottoman period (Loci 102, 108). It overlaid, at a depth of 50 cm, a layer of black ash (Loci 103, 109) that was probably the remains of a hearth or a burnt layer from the Byzantine period. The fill below the burnt layer contained worn potsherds, dating from the Persian to the Byzantine periods. A few potsherds, apparently from the Chalcolithic period and Early Bronze Age I were found in the western square, 20 cm below the ash layer.
The floor of the cave was exposed at a depth of 1.1–2.0 m. A square opening (L106; 40 × 80 cm), blocked by a stone, was discovered in the ceiling of the cave, whose western part had collapsed.
A wall, extending for a distance of 20 m, surrounded the cave on the south and southwest. The wall was built of large fieldstones (length up to 1m), placed on bedrock. A few potsherds that mostly dated to the Byzantine period were found in two trial squares (Loci 104, 105), opened on either side of the wall.
It seems that the cave was used for shelter or as a dwelling for short periods, from the Chalcolithic period until the Ottoman period. The wall probably delimited the area of the cave or served as a fence.