The excavation was conducted on the northern hill of the moshav, among the remains of the Arab village Ijzim that was destroyed in 1948. The village was mentioned in the population census of 1596 and was described by Guérin as a farming settlement whose houses were built of ancient stones (V. Guérin Description géographique, historique et archéologique de la Palestine, Jerusalem 1984:94 [Hebrew]). The Mandatory files of the Ijzim site (IAA Archive) contain two documents, dating from 1942 and 1944 and written by the antiquities inspector N. Makhouly, who visited the site when an ancient well was deepened. He described some of the houses as having been built of ancient stones. The layer of remains appeared to him to be very deep.
The antiquities inspection file of Kerem Maharal contains letters from the 1950s. One of these from 1955 came from the doctor of the moshav who reported on finds that were exposed, including burial caves, a mosaic floor, buildings and coins.
Excavations at the site were conducted in the past by K. Sa‘id and U. ‘Ad (Permit Nos. A-3648; A-3715). The opened excavation area (5 × 10) m consisted of remains from two strata.
Stratum 1. Remains of a building from the Mamluk and Ottoman periods that were built on top of Stratum II were exposed; four construction phases were discerned:
Phase 1D. The southern part of W652, which was probably part of a massive building, is attributed to this phase. It was built of large ashlar stones bonded with mortar and its base incorporated Walls 677 and 688, ascribed to Stratum II.
Phase 1C. Walls W652, W658 and W662, which penetrated Stratum II, were built of fieldstones. The space between the three walls was filled with tamped earth and above it was a plaster floor (L675; Fig. 1: Section 1-1) that abutted them and apparently served as an entrance passage to the space on the north, perhaps a room (Fig. 2). At the northern end of the corridor was an entrance threshold. A plaster floor (L684) to its north overlaid a drainage channel, covered with flat fieldstones found in situ (L683). The lower ashlar-built courses of W685 were north of the drainage channel and sections of an ashlar-stone floor (Loci 676, 681), disturbed by the remains of Phases 1B and 1A, were discovered north of W685.
Phase 1B. The fill level of W652 and W658 from Phase 1C was raised and stone floors (Loci 657, 664) that abutted the two walls were installed (see Fig. 2). Part of a room was exposed in the northern part of the excavation. Three of its surviving fieldstone walls (Walls 659, 670 671) were abutted by a crushed chalk floor founded on stones (L669). Some of the remains from this phase were severed by the construction of Phase 1A.
Phase 1A. A plaster floor (L679) was founded on top of large ashlar stones. A channel (L653) built of plastered stone slabs (Fig. 3) was constructed next to the western side of W652. A tamped chalk floor (L665) in the north abutted a channel of ashlar stones (L663; Fig. 4). A bell-shaped water cistern (L656) had cut remains that were attributed to Phase 1B.
Stratum II. Two walls that were located c. 1.8 m below surface were ascribed to this layer. One wall was built of large fieldstones and oriented north–south (W677). It formed a corner with the second wall (W688), which was presumably oriented east–west. Fragments of Byzantine bowls were recovered from the fill that abutted the walls and fragments of jars dating to the Hellenistic period were found on the natural bedrock (L674).
Most of the loci in the excavation were disturbed and the pottery recovered from them was mixed and belonged to various periods. The fill in the four phases of Stratum I contained potsherds dating to the Early Islamic period, mostly fragments of bowls (Fig. 5:6–11) and a cooking pot (Fig. 5:12), as well as fragments of glazed bowls (Fig. 5:13–24), a jar fragment (Fig. 5:26) and a decorated fragment (Fig. ) from the Mamluk period. Fragments of bowls from the Byzantine period (Fig. 5:3–5) and jar fragments from the Hellenistic period (Fig. 5:1, 2) were found above bedrock and in the fill of Stratum II.