The burial cave (Fig. 1) was hewn along an east–west axis in soft, crumbling limestone bedrock. Its opening was fixed in a leveled bedrock terrace and was enclosed in a square frame that was adapted to receive a roll-stone (Fig. 2). A step led down from the opening to a trapezoid burial chamber (length c. 3 m, width 2.8–3.0 m). A rectangular standing pit (2.0 × 2.2 m) that was partly filled with alluvium was hewn in the center of the burial chamber and was surrounded by a bedrock shelf. Six loculi (average length 1.9 m) were installed in the sides of the cave on the level of the bedrock shelf – two in the southern wall, two in the northern wall and two in the eastern wall (Fig. 3). Fragments of pottery vessels were discovered in the soil debris removed from the cave by the antiquities robbers: a cooking pot from the first century CE (Fig. 4:1), a cooking pot lid from the Late Roman period (Fig. 4:2) and an assemblage of various types of clay lamps decorated in relief (Fig. 4:3–9; Rosenthal and Sivan 1978:99–103) that were used during the third–fourth centuries CE. A glass bottleneck (not drawn) from the Early Roman period and fragments of two glass jars characteristic of the Late Roman period (not drawn) were also found.
Two phases of the burial cave could be reconstructed based on the plan and the ceramic finds. The cave was hewn at the end of the Second Temple period, probably during the first century CE. The architectural features of the cave, namely an opening enclosed within a rock-hewn frame, a burial chamber with a standing pit in its center and loculi, are characteristic of Jewish tombs from this period that were found throughout Judea and in the vicinity of Jerusalem (Kloner and Zissu 2003:15–36).
The cave was used again for burials in the Late Roman period, as reflected by the assemblage of decorated lamps, but it was impossible to determine the identity of the deceased during this period. The use of burial caves from the time of the Second Temple for interment during the Late Roman period was very common in Judea (Klein, 2011:102–103). This phenomenon was documented in other burial caves around Mishmar David, including Horbat Gader (Patterson-Solimany, Solimany and Weiss 2006) and in many burial caves that were documented in the vicinity of Tel Gezer (Macalister 1912:307–385).