Edwin C.M. van Den Brink, Liora K. Horwitz, Ofer Marder, Henk K. Mienis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The dating of finds derived from secondary contexts, i.e., from the fills in the cave, rather than from floors, is problematic. Apart from the two jar handles characteristic of Tel ‘Erani C-horizon found in the shaft, and the two Late Chalcolithic combed and painted body sherds from the cave, all the ceramic remains are characteristic of a phase within early EB I (EB IA). This homogeneous assemblage supports the latest use of the cave in early EB I, not later. However, it may have been quarried earlier, for example, when the adjacent circular basin was hewn into the bedrock, probably in the Late Chalcolithic period. The absence of structural features and in situ finds on the floor indicates that the cave was not intended for dwelling or storage. The presence of two almost complete dog skeletons seems to negate the possibility that they, and the other finds, had simply washed into the cave. This observation is further corroborated by the absence of typical intrusive, washed-in, faunal taxa such as rodents and reptiles. It therefore seems most likely that the cave was exploited, either primarily or secondarily, as a waste or refuse pit, thus evincing human occupation at the site at least as early as EB IA. This conclusion is further corroborated by the composition of the flint assemblage, i.e., the abundance of waste and debris and almost no tools. In turn, the flint finds clearly point to the presence of a flint-knapping post in the nearby vicinity. The presence of a few Nilotic shell fragments of Chambardia rubens shows once again the intensive contacts between the Southern Levant and Egypt in the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age I (see Braun and Brink 2008:646–649). As noted above, several salvage excavations have been carried out within the premises of Ispro Center, at least four of which have yielded EB IA remains. Early Bronze Age IA pottery, including several Gray Burnished Ware sherds, were uncovered in a badly damaged cave located c. 40 m northwest of the present site (Sigal Golan pers. comm.). Several cupmarks and rock-cut installations associated with EB IA pottery sherds were uncovered nearby (Tzach Kanias, pers. comm.). Remains of two walls and a floor, a hearth and a spread of in situ EB IA pottery sherds and flint, as well as a number of rock-cut installations were exposed in another nearby excavation (Gorzalczany 2008). In addition, a rock-cut pit, situated less than 30 m northwest of the present site, yielded an appreciable amount of exclusively EB IA pottery (Segal 2010). The accumulated data strongly supports the presence of a small community of early EB I dwellers in this area, who possibly lived in nearby caves, processing and storing their agricultural commodities in various rock-cut installations. This data ties in well with the noted presence of early EB I dwellers settled south of Modi‘in (Buchman Compound), living in open-air dwellings (Brink 2007a, referring to the Deep Deposits Strata 3–1; Brink and Kanias 2010, referring to the plateau), as well as in caves (Brink 2007b: Hill C, Cave 2).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-143
Number of pages31
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Conservation
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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