During January 2003, a small salvage excavation was conducted in the northeastern area of Karm er-Ras (Permit No. 3820; map ref. NIG 231675/739490; OIG 181675/239490), in the wake of private construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the landowner A. Iyad, was directed by Y. Alexandre (surveying, photography), with the assistance of E. Belashov and I. Berin (drafting) and H. Tahan (pottery drawing).
This excavation exposed very few archaeological remains and no walls, which is rather exceptional for the site of Karm er-Ras. The excavation was undertaken in difficult weather conditions, with heavy rains flooding the site and preventing a clear understanding of the limited remains. Furthermore, trial trenches, carried out at the site prior to the excavation, caused damage to the area. The potsherds indicated that the limited remains should be dated to the very end of the Iron Age (sixth century BCE?), a period unknown from any of the other excavations at the site.
The single square was excavated to a maximum depth of 1.3 m, down to the extremely uneven bedrock. The minimal finds consisted of a flagstone floor section (L940, L942 and L946) and the semicircular contour of a mud-brick installation (L947; external diam. c. 2.5 m), built directly on bedrock. The potsherds retrieved from the floor and the installation suggested that these remains should be dated to the very end of Iron IIC, possibly the sixth century BCE (Stratum VIII?).
The limited archaeological remains in Area M may be indicative of a very sparse occupation at the site, at the end of Iron IIC. Intensive habitation levels of Iron IIA-B (Strata X, IX), uncovered in Areas G and W, indicate that the site was destroyed and abandoned toward the end of the eighth century BCE. The data from Area M is very scanty and it would be rash to interpret the few Iron IIC (?) potsherds as proof for even a limited occupation revival of the site.