During May 2005, a salvage excavation was conducted in Moshav Kerem Maharal (Permit No. A-4463*; map ref. NIG 19920–2/72775–80; OIG 14920–2/22775–80). The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Moshav, was directed by K. Sa‘id, with the assistance of A. Hajian (surveying), T. Sagiv (field photography), P. Gendelman (ceramic consultation) and M. Shuiskaya (drawing of finds).
The site, on one of the peaks in the southwest Karmel mountain range, is located south of a plain and north of a broad wadi (Abu Madi). The name Agzam is mentioned in the Ottoman census of 1596 as a village that belonged to the Shefaya sub-district in the district of Lajun. Agzam was the birthplace of Sheikh Mas‘oud Al-Madi, governor of the Haifa region at the beginning of the nineteenth century CE. It is mentioned in the report of Edward Rogers, the British vice-consul in Palestine, who visited the village in 1859 and wrote that a thousand inhabitants who subsisted on agriculture resided there. The village is also mentioned in the travels of the Frenchman V. Guerin, who described a tent settlement on the hill at the foot of a plateau with olive trees and buildings, in which ancient stones were incorporated.
The Mandatory Folder No. 69 in the IAA archive includes two reports from the years 1942 and 1944 by the antiquities inspector N. Maholy, who described the houses of the village that were built of ancient stones. A previous excavation at the site was conducted by the author (HA-ESI 118
An area (2.5 × 10.0 m) was opened, revealing three strata (Fig. 1).
Stratum I (Fig. 2). Remains of a north–south aligned wall (W693) that was built of a single row of ashlar stones were discovered. The wall was founded on a layer of fill, which contained a few potsherds, including bowls (Fig. 4:1, 2) and jars (Fig. 4:3–5) that dated to the Mamluk and Ottoman periods.
Stratum II (Fig. 2). An ashlar-built wall (W694), surviving by two courses in a north–south direction, was exposed. A stone floor (L697) abutted its eastern side and to its south were remains of a floor of crushed chalk (L692). The fill in the wall contained a few potsherds, including bowls (Fig. 4:6–9) that dated to the Mamluk period.
Stratum III (Fig. 3). Three courses of an ashlar-built wall (W695), oriented north–south, were preserved. Sections of a floor (L699) that consisted of large stones were uncovered on the western side of the wall. The fill above and below the floor contained a few potsherds that dated to the Byzantine period, including a bowl (Fig. 4:10) and jars (Fig. 4:11, 12).
Building remains from the Mamluk and Ottoman periods, which incorporated stones from earlier periods in secondary use, were exposed. The function of the buildings could not be determined due to the limited scale of the excavation. Excavated as well was a section of a wall from a large building that was paved with stones and used during the Byzantine period.