During October 1998, an excavation was conducted in a burial cave in Modi‘in (Permit No. A-2945; map ref. 20130–35/64505), for the purpose of completing a salvage excavation that had begun by O. Segal in 1996 (ESI 20:78*, Cave F25). The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by E. Haddad, with the assistance of D. Porotzki (surveying), Y. Nagar (physical anthropology) and Z. Kanias (antiquities inspection).
A burial cave that consisted of a corridor, a burial chamber and three arcosolia was discovered; based on its style, it was dated to the Late Roman or Byzantine periods.
The cave was hewn in soft limestone bedrock. A rock-cut corridor (L100; 0.90 × 2.45 m; Fig. 1) with a sloping floor, oriented east–west, led to an arched entrance (0.5 × 0.9 m, c. 1.65 m below the surface; see Fig. 1: Section 1-1). A rectangular blocking stone (0.65 × 1.0 m) was found in the cave, on the inside of the opening (see Fig. 1: Section 2-2).
The ceiling of the square burial chamber (L104; 1.5 × 1.6 m, height 1.95 m) was curved and descended slightly toward the eastern and western sides. Arcosolia that included hewn troughs were discerned along three sides of the burial chamber (L101–L103). The troughs were separated from the burial chamber by narrow stone partitions (width 0.35 m), some of which were poorly preserved due to the disintegrating bedrock. No headrests were noted in the troughs.
Each arcosolium contained the remains of human bones beneath a layer of limestone that had solidified over the interred (thickness 0.1 m). Although the bones were poorly preserved it was still possible to recognize that they represented at least one adult in each arcosolium. The gender of the deceased was not determined. Near the western side of the northern arcosolium, remains of a skull and an upper molar with advanced tooth wear, which indicates an individual over 40 years of age, were discerned. It was not possible to assess the age of the rest of individuals. The bones were turned over to a representative of the Ministry of Religious Affairs for re-interment.
During the two seasons in which the cave was excavated, no artifacts that could aid in dating its use were found. In all likelihood, the cave was plundered in antiquity. Burial in troughs inside rock-hewn tombs was a widespread phenomenon from the third century CE and therefore the cave probably dates to the Late Roman or the Byzantine periods.