During June 2010, a salvage excavation was conducted north of ‘Isawiya and east of Giv‘at Shapira neighborhoods in Jerusalem (Permit No. A-5954; map ref. 223240/634680), after a natural cave was damaged while paving a road. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Department of Public Works, was directed by Z. ‘Adawi, with the assistance of B. Tori and Y. Billig (antiquities inspection), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), D. Levy (GPS), A. Peretz (field photography) and S. al-Amlah (metal detection).
A cave located next to the Ma‘ale Adumin–Jerusalem road, at the bottom of a spur descending east toward Nahal Og , was excavated (Fig. 1). Burial caves, architectural remains, a cistern and rock-hewn installations had previously been surveyed in the vicinity of the cave (A. Kloner. 2002. Survey of Jerusalem: The Northeastern Sector, Sites 200–205).
The cave consisted of a natural elliptical area (4–5×6 m; height above the alluvium 1.5–1.8 m; Fig. 2), whose western half was only excavated. A rectangular opening (0.8×1.4 m; Fig. 3) whose upper part was arched was hewn in the eastern side of the cave, whose northwestern part was damaged on both sides by development work prior to the excavation. The ceiling had traces of soot and two rock-cuttings were discovered in the western side of the cave. One was a niche for probably placing a lamp (0.12×0.15 m; Fig. 4) and the other was incomplete and probably meant to straighten that side of the cave (c. 0.4×0.6 m; Fig. 5). Alluvium containing modern artifacts was discovered in the cave, overlying a layer of tamped gray soil. Three Jordanian coins dating to the 1950s and a hearth with modern lead were found in the layer of tamped soil. The layer of tamped gray soil superposed three layers of alluvium that were placed on the bedrock bottom of the cave (Fig. 6). Several potsherds were discovered in the three alluvium layers. Only two of the sherds could be identified, one was a bowl fragment probably from Iron Age II and the other was a cooking pot dating to the Roman period. These two potsherds were discovered inside a crack at the bottom of the western side of the cave. The absence of an ancient habitation level in the cave makes it difficult to date either its first use or its purpose. The Iron Age II and Roman period potsherds probably indicate that the cave was used temporarily in these periods, as it was in recent generations, or the sherds may have simply washed into the cave.