During June 2010, a salvage excavation was conducted next to the western security fence of Moshav Ora (Permit No. A-5936; map ref. 21438–50/62918–28; Fig. 1), in the wake of damage to an antiquities site. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by P. Betzer, with the assistance of Y. Ohayon (administration), A. Hajian (surveying) and D. Levy (GPS).
The excavation was carried out within the precincts of the ‘En Sarig (South) antiquities site, on a steep slope where numerous farming terraces are visible, and c. 300 m east of the ‘En Sarig spring, which includes channels and a plastered pool on its side. Building remains, a large building stone that may belong to a structure from the Middle Ages (Fig. 2), a burial cave that was converted in secondary use to a cave dwelling (Fig. 3) and signs of rock-cuttings, were discerned between the spring and the excavation area.
A plastered installation, a quarry and a courtyard of a burial cave were exposed along the eastern fringes of the site (Fig. 4).
The excavation area was divided into two sections, 4 m apart.
West side. A rock-hewn installation coated with grayish white plaster was exposed. The installation included a plaster floor (L14; 2.0 × 2.6 m, thickness 1–4 cm; Fig. 5) that abutted a plastered side (W1; length 2 m, height 0.24 m) in the southeast and a bedrock terrace in the northeast, whose bottom part was hewn like a ledge and plastered (height 0.6 m; Fig. 4: Section 2-2). The northwestern side of the installation was not preserved and the southwestern side was destroyed by a tractor.
East side. Three rock-hewn steps of an ancient quarry were exposed. Detachment lines were discerned in the western step (L11; 0.7 × 1.2 m, height 0.35 m; Fig. 6), which was damaged by the tractor. Another smaller step (0.5 × 0.5 m, height 0.15 m) was located above Step 11. The eastern step (L10; 1 × 2 m, height 0.85 m) was partially damaged, probably by modern rock-cutting that left holes in the bedrock, meant for inserting explosives.A courtyard of a burial cave (min. dimensions 1.30 × 3.45 m, height 2.1 m; Fig. 4: Section 1-1) was discovered beneath Step 10; it was damaged by a modern pipe, the quarrying and the tractor work. The northern side of the courtyard was situated beneath a bedrock protrusion (length c. 0.4 m), in which a rectangular opening (0.48–0.54 × 0.61 m), enclosed within a hewn frame (thickness c. 0.1 m; Fig. 7), was cut. The opening led to a burial chamber (min. height 0.7–1.3 m) where seven loculi of different sizes were hewn: two on the western side (1, 2; 0.6 × 1.1 m, 0.4 × 1.5 m; Fig. 8); three on the northern side, one of which was not completed (3–5; 0.2 × 0.4 m, 0.9 × 1.8 m, 0.45 × 1.80 m); and probably two on the eastern side (6, not exposed; 7, 0.44 × 1.60 m). Loculus 4 was significantly larger than the other loculi; it was probably used for burying two individuals or was a passage that led to another burial chamber. What appeared to be the upper part of an opening was identified about half way up the narrow side of Loculus 5; it probably led to a loculus or another burial chamber. The cave, which was discovered breeched and filled with silt, was not excavated.