Five cist graves (L101–L105; Table 1) were exposed, but not excavated. They were built of chalk and were aligned along a general northwest–southeast axis (Fig. 2). The graves were in a poor to average state of preservation and some had been damaged by development work. Four of the graves were probably used to bury adults while one smaller grave (L102; external dimensions 0.65 × 1.50 m; Fig. 3) was most likely used to bury a child. The graves were constructed of chalk slabs, some of them well-dressed, set in place on their narrow side. The stones delimiting Grave 103 were straight-dressed on the inside and were roughly hewn on the outside (Fig. 4). Several covering slabs were placed on top of the graves. Three graves were missing some of the covering stones (L101, L102, L104) and two still had all of their covering stones in situ (L103, L105). Fragments of bag-shaped Gaza jars dating to the Byzantine period (fourth–sixth centuries CE; not drawn) were found next to three graves. The graves were covered upon completion of the excavation.
Table 1. Cist graves
Dimensions (m)
0.68 × 1.50
0.65 × 1.50
0.9 × 2.1
0.6 × 1.8
0.60 × 1.67
The graves are probably another part of the strip of cemeteries that surrounded the city of Be’er Sheva‘ during the Byzantine period. This necropolis extended mostly to the north and northeast of the Byzantine city of which other portions were exposed near the current excavation site.