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Cave 5 - Ein Avdat

Cave 5 is a three-roomed dwelling located approximately 3.5 m below Cave 2. No formal description of this cave is given in the survey of Meshel and Tsafrir, but it is labeled on the authors' plan of Cave 2 - click here to view the plan. During our inspection of Cave 5, the main architectural features were recorded for the first time. As the image indicates, Cave 5 has two entry points from the outside - the smaller of the two is obscured somewhat by the bush in front of it. Above Cave 5 in the image, one can see a portion of the entrance into Cave 2. The feature to the immediate right of the main entrance into Cave 5 was identified by Meshel and Tsafrir as steps to access Cave 2.

Cave No. 5
Cave No. 2

Front room of Cave 5. This room measures approximately 6 x 3,5 m and has a wide archway into a back room.  On the northern side of the front room are two large niches. There is another doorway on the southern side of the room (not visible in the image), which leads into a side-room with its own entrance from the outside. The current ceiling height in this cave is only around 1,5 m, owing to the buildup of deposits over time.

Large niches (ca. 90 x 65 x 30 cm) on northern side of front room of Cave 5

Archway (nearly 1,5 m wide) leading from front room of Cave 5 into rear room.

Rear room of Cave 5., looking north. This room measures approximately 5,5 x 9 m. Two especially interesting features were documented in this room:

  • (1) Plaster on the upper half of the walls and on portions of the ceiling. The plaster is discolored from soot and other deposits.

  • (2) Traces of writing (graffiti) on a plastered section of the northern wall.

Detail of northern wall in rear room of Cave 5. Traces of writing (graffiti) etched into the plaster. Highly degraded and difficult to read, but may be parts of religious acclamation formulae of the kind seen in Cave 2 - click here to view. Arrow points to a Greek beta, which may be the beginning of a verb (βοηθέω: to come to aid or assist) typically used in these formulae.

Doorway (0,7 m) leading from front room of Cave 5 into side room.

Southwestern corner of side-room in Cave 5. The large, rectangular niche in the southern wall measures around 120 x 50 x 25 cm. There are two smaller niches in the western wall of this room - one of them is partly visible in the photo. Note also the remains of the darkened plaster on the upper walls and some traces of it on the lower walls and inside the niche.

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