Yossi Cohen, chief archeologist of the central district, described the subterranean space as 20 meters long by 4 meters wide and subdivided into a central vestibule flanked by three smaller rooms, all carved into the sandstone. According to Cohen, archeologists in the 1950s – before Rogozin High was built – were already aware that a burial cave may be located in the area. In 1964 the whole area was declared an official antiquities site.
Entrance to cave (Photo: Yaron Brenner)
Now, however, the public works authority and the Tel Aviv municipality are hastening to seal the cave, as the infrastructure work damaged
Laborers were working to remove the cave’s ceiling and the thick layer of dust inside, and to excavate it completely and fill it in anew. Only then can the new road be constructed above it. “If we only fill in the exposed part without digging the cave out in its entirety, the street will collapse from the weight of cars and trucks,” Cohen said.
Surprising find for city workers (Photo: Yaron Brenner)
According to Peter Gendelman, the senior archeologist at the site, it appears the area of the cave extends underneath the high school.
The principal of the school, Karen Tal, said: “I very much hope they find something interesting here and the school area becomes an attraction. But if it is a space underneath the school which has to be filled in, I believe the authorized officials will tell us what to do. This school has been around for nearly 50 years, and I trust those responsible that it will continue operating without interruption.”
The Tel Aviv-Yaffo municipality stated that “the site is being examined by the city’s department for hazardous buildings, and they took out a special warrant to fill in the cave according to the advice and directions of land consultants and the antiquities authority. Likewise, the state fenced in the northeastern part of the school.”