During May–June 2006, a trial excavation was conducted at Kerem Maharal (Permit No. A-4807; map ref. NIG 19932–7/72756–9; OIG 14932–7/22756–9), prior to construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by E. Oren (photography), with the assistance of S. Ya‘aqov-Jam (administration) and A. Hajian (surveying and drafting).
An elliptical cistern, hewn in soft chalk bedrock (L204; diam. 1.05 m, depth 1.20 m; Fig. 2), was exposed in the northern part of the excavation area. Traces of plaster were discerned in the cistern, which was filled with soil that contained non-diagnostic potsherds mixed with modern refuse.
Southeast of the cistern, a rock-hewn burial cave (L206; 1.7 × 3.2 m, height 1.6 m; Fig. 3) was discovered. The cave had been severely damaged in the past and its ceiling was destroyed. The northern part of the cave was not excavated as it lay beyond the bounds of the excavation area. Building stones and metal debris were discovered in the cave, which appears to have been used as a refuse pit during the time of the British Mandate. A small niche (L207; 0.70 × 0.85 m, depth 0.55 m; Fig. 4) was hewn in the cave’s western side and several human bones and jar fragments, probably from the Roman period, were discovered in it. Following the exposure of the bones, the niche was covered over by the instruction of the representative of the Ministry of Religious Affairs who was present at the excavation and the jar fragments were not documented. The entrance to the cave was not discovered, yet it seems to have been set in the southern side.