During January 2008, a trial excavation was conducted in Modi‘in (Permit No. A-5352; map ref. NIG 201060–71/642960–68; OIG 151060–71/142960–68), prior to construction. The excavation, carried out on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ministry of Building and Construction, was directed by E.C.M. van den Brink, with the assistance of E. Bachar (administration), T. Sagiv (field photography), Y. Nagar (physical anthropology) and B. Ajami (safety and security).
The activity of mechanical equipment in preparing the area for construction breached an unknown karstic cave (Fig. 1). Before sealing the breach, the IAA inspector in the area retrieved three pottery vessels, dating to Middle Bronze IIB.
The cave (length 6 m, depth 5 m, height c. 2 m) was cleaned of the soil and debris that had sealed the breach in the eastern wall. Stone collapse that partially derived from a natural opening in the roof was in the east of the cave and an east–west alignment of roof stone collapse was in the center (Fig. 2). The soft bedrock floor of the cave was reached after excavating c. 0.3 m layer of soft brownish limey soil. All the seven pottery vessels from the cave were found in its rear end. These consisted of the three pottery vessels, a bowl with handles (Fig. 3), a jug (Fig. 4) and a dipper juglet (Fig. 5), collected by the antiquities inspector, as well as four more vessels, including a carinated bowl with continuous incisions around its rim (Fig. 6), a nearly-complete medium-sized jar, a red-slipped juglet with a two-strand handle, found upside-down and an oil lamp.
The original entrance shaft (width 0.5–0.8 m, depth 1.15 m) was natural and led into the northeastern part of the cave, close by to the breach in the cave’s eastern wall (Fig. 7). This was the only place in the cave where the brownish limey soil had accumulated all the way to the cave’s ceiling.
Toward the end of the excavation, after the stone debris was cleared from the cave, a depression in the middle of the bedrock floor was noted. It contained osteological remains, in situ, including two human skulls of an adult and a child, found upside-down together with several long bones not in articulation. Since the excavation of the depression was not completed due to interference of Ultra-Orthodox factions, it was difficult to determine whether the bones were originally interred as primary burial, or were disturbed by post-burial activities.