During February–March 2000 a salvage excavation was conducted in Be’er Sheva‘ (A-3205*; map ref. NIG 18085/57295; OIG 13085/07295) after tombs were exposed while overseeing construction work. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by Migdelי Qeren Ltd., was directed by V. Nikolsky, with the assistance of V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying), N. Zak (drafting), Y. Baumgarten (photography), E. Altmark (metallurgical laboratory), Y. Nagar (physical anthropology), and also F. Sonntag, D. Varga, Y. Lender, N. Paran, A. Zelin, G. Seriy, A. Israelov, V. Hochman and A. Alajem.
Thirteen cist graves were discovered, including one that was destroyed and another that was not examined, due to its location beyond the limits of the excavation (Fig. 1); some of the graves were damaged by the construction work. The graves yielded no datable finds, though judging by comparison to similar graves excavated in the vicinity (ESI 19:90*–91*; HA–ESI 113:129*), it seems they were part of a cemetery, dating to the Late Roman and Byzantine periods.
Nine of the graves (102A, 102B, 103, 104, 106–110) were generally aligned north–south and two others (101, 105) were oriented east–west. The graves were lined and covered with dressed limestone slabs. One grave was short (102B—0.33 × 0.50 m, depth 0.2 m), four were of average length (102A, 106–108—0.48–0.54 × 1.07–1.33 m, depth 0.37–0.41 m; Fig. 2), four were long (103, 104, 109, 110—0.48–0.70 × 1.60–1.83 m, depth 0.58 m; Figs. 3, 4) and two graves were not preserved to their full length (101—0.37 × 0.95 m, depth 0.33 m; 105—0.62 × 0.95 m). Each of the graves contained a single individual in a supine position; in the north–south graves the head of the deceased was to the north and in the other graves, it was to the west. Altogether, 11 individuals were identified in the graves, including infants, children and adults of both sexes that attest to a civilian population.
Near the skull in Grave 102A were two copper earrings, parts of a glass-bead chain, copper wire and various colored-glass beads (Fig. 5). Grave 104 contained organic matter that has not yet been analyzed and several iron nails. One plate of copper cymbals was recovered from the destroyed grave (111; Fig. 6).