During April 2000, while laying water pipes in the southern slope of the village of ‘Illut, to the west of Nazeret (map ref. NIG 2247/7356; OIG 1747/2356), a burial cave was exposed when its roof was slightly perforated. The work was carried out without the presence of IAA inspectors and it was later reported to the IAA that ancient artifacts had been removed and stolen from the cave. The intervention of Y. Moshe, the head of the northern unit of the IAA Robbery Prevention Division led to the recovery of two complete undamaged pottery vessels (H. Tahan, drawings). Since the damage to the cave roof was minimal and the cave was full of debris, precluding the observation of any architectural features, the cave was not excavated.
The two pottery vessels are a storage jar and a flask (Fig. 1). The storage jar (Height 51 cm) has a cylindrical body, rounded sloping shoulders, a collared neck and a rounded thickened rim. This jar is similar to Stern’s storage jar Type D (E. Stern. Material Culture of the Land of the Bible in the Persian Period 538-332 B.C.E. Jerusalem 1982), apart from the unusual collared neck. The complete large flask conforms to Type A in Stern’s classification, including the wide band on the side. It has a single short diagonal stroke on one handle incised before firing.
On the basis of these two vessels it is possible to broadly date the cave to the Persian period. No other caves or settlements from this period have yet been discovered in the immediate vicinity.