The Nicanor Burial Cave

The Nicanor Burial Cave in the Mount Scopus Botanical Gardens

In 1902, a burial cave was discovered on Mount Scopus on the grounds of the estate of Sir John Grey Hill, today the Botanical Garden in the campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

This is a burial complex of the Second Temple period, one of the most elaborate found in Jerusalem, skillfully hewn out of the soft limestone. It comprises a courtyard and five complexes of rooms.

One of the ossuaries found in the burial complex, bore an inscription mentioning the name “Nicanor”. It can be identified with the family of Nicanor of Alexandria. The story of the head of that family, who donated the doors of one of the gates of the Temple in Jerusalem, is told in several Jewish sources.

Since 2008, the cave houses an exhibition explaining this background and has replicas of the ossuaries. This display was established by the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University in cooperation with the Jewish National Fund. The project was designed by Ran Morin. It is open to the public during the Botanical Garden visiting hours -



Looking inside "Nicanor" burial cave, (photo by Gabi Laron).