During June 2002 a salvage excavation was conducted at Moshav Kerem Maharal (Permit No. A-3648*; map ref. NIG
19925–30/72778–81; OIG 14925–30/22778–81). The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and funded by S. Amar, was directed by K. Sa‘id, with the assistance of Y. Dangor (administration), V. Essman (surveying), M. Shuiskaya-Arnov (drawing) and M. Avissar (ceramic reading).
The excavation was conducted on a hill where the ruins of the Arab village of Ijzim, abandoned in 1948, are located. Two squares were opened, revealing six strata (max. depth 2 m): one stratum from the Ottoman period, four strata from the Mamluk period and one stratum from the Byzantine period (Fig. 1).
Two stone walls (W18, W19) that were part of a building from the Arab village of Ijzim were discovered. The walls, founded on ancient walls, consisted of dressed stones, some of which were ancient and in secondary use.
A wall, built of small fieldstones (W15; 1.6 m long) and preserved three courses high, was uncovered. A stone pavement (L106), abutting W15 on the north, was overlaid with a fill that contained bowls (Fig. 2:6, 7) dating to the Mamluk period. The remains were founded atop those of Stratum III, postdating them.
Two walls were excavated. Wall 13 (2.3 m long), oriented east–west and built of small fieldstones, formed a corner with Wall 14 (2 m long) that was also built of a small fieldstones. Fragments of pottery vessels, including a bowl (Fig. 2:3) that dated to the Mamluk period, were found in the fill around the walls, but no distinct floor was discerned. Wall 13 severed Wall 16 of Stratum IV and thus, postdated it.
Three walls (W10–12), enclosing a stone-paved courtyard (L104; min. dimensions 3.6 × 4.3 m) were discovered. The walls, founded on bedrock, were built of dressed fieldstones. The fill below the stone pavement contained bowls (Fig. 2:4, 8–10) that dated to the Mamluk period. Wall 16, oriented north–south and perpendicular to W11, was built of medium-sized fieldstones. The northern part of the wall was cut by the later W13 of Stratum III.
A wall (W17; 2.5 m long), built of medium-sized fieldstones and preserved two courses high, was discovered; it extended beneath W14 of Stratum III. Fragments of bowls (Fig. 2:1, 2, 5) from the Mamluk period were found between its stones.
This stratum, which was exposed only in L108, west of W17 of Stratum V, consisted of a thick fill that contained numerous fragments of Byzantine jars (Fig. 2:11–13), but no architectural remains.