During December 2005 a salvage excavation was conducted at Moshav Kerem Maharal (Permit No. A-4656*; map ref. NIG 199151–80/727486–511; OIG 149151–80/227486–511). The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and funded by the Tirak family, was directed by M. Masarwa and K. Sa‘id, with the assistance of T. Kornfeld (surveying), T. Sagiv (field photography) and N. Zak (drafting).
The excavation was conducted along the southwestern fringes of the moshav, in Lot 298 (Fig. 1). Excavations in the vicinity had been conducted in the past (HA-ESI 118
; HA-ESI 119
; HA-ESI 120
). Three areas, A, B and C, were opened.
Area A. Two strata were exposed in the area, located in the southeastern part of the lot (6 × 12 m; Fig. 2).
Stratum I. A wall (W2510), built of medium-sized fieldstones and bonded with white mortar, was founded on top of the quarry from Stratum II. The wall was part of the buildings in the Arab village that was abandoned in 1948.
Stratum II. A stone quarry (Loci 2502, 2505) that was open to the north and east. It consisted of steps that were hewn according to the desired size of the stone. The severance channels were clearly discernable (Fig. 3).
Area B. Two strata were exposed in the area (5 × 7 m; Fig. 4), located in the southwestern part of the lot.
Stratum I. Wall remains that were built of fieldstones on top of bedrock (W2511, W2512, W2513) belonged to the buildings of the Arab village that was abandoned in 1948.
Stratum II. A stone quarry with a small courtyard that had signs of quarry steps (Loci 2501, 2508, 2510; Fig. 5). A bedrock-hewn pit (L2509; 1.0 × 1.5 m, depth 2 m) was exposed in the southeastern corner; its sides were coated with white plaster and it was probably used for storing liquid.
Area C, a natural bedrock surface that was cleaned and a small rock-cutting was found at its end.
A few worn, non-diagnostic potsherds were found.
The quarries and the plastered pit were part of an industrial zone in the settlement of the Byzantine period; they join the agricultural installations that had been exposed nearby in previous excavations. The wall remains belonged to the houses of the Arab village Ijzim that was abandoned in 1948.