During August 2000 a burial cave was examined on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives (map ref. NIG 22363/63135; OIG 17363/13135) following the damage caused to it throughout development work. The cave was documented by R. Abu Raya and A. Re’em, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, assisted by R. Graff (drafting).
The cave (Fig. 1) was hewn in soft limestone. The preserved sections of the cave consisted of part of the western wall, including three loculi, part of another loculus in the northern wall and a standing pit. The loculi, which were meticulously hewn, were rectangular and broad (1.35–1.50 × 1.85–2.18 m, height 0.9–1.0 m) and had a flat bottom. The standing pit (1.1 × 1.5 m; presumed depth 0.9 m) was hewn in the center of the cave and only its bottom part was preserved. Gray soil fill in the standing pit contained fragments of two cooking pots dating to the Early Roman period (first century BCE–first century CE). Judging by the local topography the cave's entrance was probably set in the eastern wall. The location of the standing pit would seem to indicate that two loculi were hewn in the northern wall and another two loculi opposite them in the southern wall. Based on the cave's plan and the cooking pots discovered, the burial cave was probably part of the cemetery on the Mount of Olives from the end of the Second Temple period.