During July 2007, a cross-section was documented east of Mar Meron Church, the new Maronite church in Gush Halav (Permit No. A-3668; map ref. 2421/7699), after human bones were discovered by the antiquities inspector, A. Mokary. The documentation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was carried out by N. Getzov.
A tell that was populated during many periods, beginning in the Early Bronze Age, is located on the settlement’s lofty hilltop. At the end of the twentieth century CE, a church was built at the foot of the hill’s southeastern slope. While excavating a retaining wall foundation for the courtyard, a large concentration of human bones (Fig. 1) was exposed east of the church building. Due to the sensitivity of dealing with ancient tombs, no excavation, anthropological study or gathering of artifacts were performed.
A hewn bedrock terrace was discovered in a trench that had been dug by a bulldozer. The bedrock was overlain with two layers of accumulation (Fig. 2). Stratum II, on the bedrock surface, included grayish brown soil and a layer (thickness c. 15 cm) containing numerous human bones devoid of any other find. Stratum I, above Stratum II, included an accumulation of bedrock fragments mixed with soil and numerous potsherds, most of which dated to the Byzantine period. A pit ascribed to Stratum I penetrated Stratum II in the northern part of the trench.
The bottom Stratum II probably belonged to a burial tomb whose ceiling was destroyed. The pit that contained potsherds from the Byzantine period may indicate the time when the cave collapsed. Concentrations of interred bones prevail in the region, particularly in the Bronze Age; therefore the tomb may be ascribed to one of its phases.