Cave 2 - Ein Avdat

Cave 2 is a one-roomed dwelling located approximately 3.5 m above Cave 5. It was part of the initial survey of Meshel and Tsafrir. We reinvestigated Cave 2 in June 2016 with a particular interest in obtaining better documentation of the Greek inscription on the northern wall of the cave. As the photo to the left indicates, Cave 2 now shows two entrances, but originally there was only one - the narrower of the two openings. Based on some of the features around this opening, the original entrance most likely had a door.

Original Entrance
 

The main room of Cave 2 measures 5, 6 x 5,3 m. Ceiling height is approximately 2,5 m. To the immediate north of the cave is a balcony area measuring roughly 4 x 2 m with low bench-like installations running along the western and northern sides.

The western wall of Cave 2 is notable for two large arches drawn with red paint (A-1 and A-2 in photo). Although the paint has faded or disappeared entirely in some places, each arch seems to have had a span of roughly 1,8 m. In the southwestern corner is a bench-like installation, approximately 0,7 m high (B in photo)

A-1

A-2

The northern wall of Cave 2 has two interesting features:

  • (1) A rectangular area (approximately 0,8 x 0,5 m) carved into the wall with a smoothed out interior surface and some Greek graffiti in the lower left corner.

  • (2) A small niche 1,3 m to the east of the rectangular area.

Graffiti

Niche

Rectangular area

Closer view of lower left corner of rectangular area, where graffiti are located. Image is in higher than normal contrast to bring out letters. The graffiti are religious acclamations formulae of a well-known kind. Arrow points to a line of writing in which Saint Theodore is invoked - see detail below. This invocation and the proximity of the Ein Avdat hermitage to Avdat suggest that the monks inhabiting these caves were associated with cult of the saint, which was being maintained in the monastic South Church at Avdat.

α   γ   𝛓    θ   ε    ω   δ   ο  ρ ε

Detail of line in which Saint Theodore is invoked:

Niche located to the east of the rectangular area on northern wall. It measures approximately 25 x 18 x 10 cm

Plan adapted from Z. Meshel and Y. Tsafrir, Archaeological Survey in Ein 'Avdat (Hebrew) (1977), 9, drawing 3

ἅγ(ιο)ς Θεωδόρε

B

Southern wall of Cave 2. Platform-like feature (P in photo) runs along wall, approximately 0,3 m high, except in southeastern corner, where it is higher (0,5 m) and more bench-like (B in photo).

P
B

Balcony just north of Cave 2. Note the bench-like installations along western and northern sides and recessed area in northwestern corner.