© Hebrew Union College/Jewish Institute of Religion

Stained with soil from this 3, 700-year-old “tomb,” Biran inspects two almost-intact pottery vessel, upper right, still half-buried in the floor.

Oddly, the Middle Bronze Age 11 B (c. 1700 B.C.) structure yielded no skeletal remains, casting doubt on the structure”s identification as a tomb. Biran speculates that the builders of the 20-foot-long building, roofed with massive basalt slabs visible at the top of the picture, may not have had time to inter anyone before some circumstance led them to seal it from the outside. Biran also speculates that it may have been a cenotaph, a tomb-like monument commemorating a dead person who was buried elsewhere.

In all, excavators uncovered four pottery vessels, two oil lamps, a small jug and two bowls from the ancient enclosure (see photograph).