During June 2002, a salvage excavation was conducted in a burial cave in the ‘Ein el-Lauza neighborhood of Jerusalem (Kefar Ha-Shilloah), south of the City of David (Permit No. A-3652; map ref. NIG 22272/63129; OIG 17272/13129), after the cave’s northern side was damaged during the course of paving a road. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Moriya Company, was directed by Y. Baurch, with the assistance of T. Kornfeld (surveying and drafting) and C. Hersch (pottery drawing).
The cave was hewn in soft chalk bedrock terrace on the slope of a hill, c. 500 m south of the City of David (Fig. 1). Numerous fragments of pottery vessels that dated from the Second Temple period until the modern era were found in a trench, which was excavated in the thick layers of soil fill (thickness 2 m) that covered the roof of the cave.
A sloping corridor that was not excavated led to the opening of the cave, which was set in the northern side. The rectangular opening had rounded corners and the threshold was c. 0.2 m higher than the cave’s floor (c. 4.5 sq m; max. height 1.1 m; Fig. 2). The cave was elliptical and had a dome-like ceiling. The walls were meticulously hewn and apparently, a broad mallet was used for quarrying. The floor was not leveled and two shallow pits were cut in it. The cave, which was probably plundered in the past, contained fragments of jars (Fig. 3:1, 2), dipper juglets (Fig. 3:3, 5, 7) and piriform juglets (Fig. 3:4, 6, 8, 9) that dated to the Middle Bronze Age. The few bones in the cave were returned to their initial location without being analyzed by an anthropologist. The cave was sealed and covered with soil at the conclusion of the excavation. Its discovery is important since only a few burial caves from this period are known in the vicinity of the City of David in Jerusalem.