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Past Exhibitions:

"Ancient Treasures of the Holy Land"(curator: Gila Hurvitz)

The exhibition "Ancient Treasures of the Holy Land" will present selected highlights of the Institute of Archaeology's collections. By all estimates, this theme will generate great interest among both Christian and Jewish communities, as well as other religious denominations. The general concept of the exhibition allows us to construct a chronological continuum that will offer the visitor a unique experience through the implementation of the latest museological practices.

The exhibition will present a number of focal points that will serve as stations along the road from Abraham to Jesus.

1. Archaeology, history, and memory
2. The Patriarchs - fathers of all nations
3. From nomadism to monarchy
4. Kings, priests, and prophets
5. Confrontation with Greek and Hellenistic civilization
6. The power of Rome and the birth of Christianity

Each of these stations will open a window onto a particular historical and cultural sphere and will enable a glimpse at the daily life of the time, aided by authentic artifacts from the various periods—pottery and stone ware, working tools and weapons, inscriptions and coins, lighting devices and models of private and public buildings. The exhibition will be accompanied by quotations from the Old and New Testaments.

We predict a visual experience of fragments of the past that will take the visitor on a journey through the milestones of the Holy Land's history and heritage, from biblical times until the days of Jesus.

In order to take maximum advantage of the possibilities offered by this exhibition, which promises to be outstanding, fascinating, and unique in both content and design, we intend to produce the entire exhibition — or at least most of it — from its foundations here in Israel. A number of agents in the USA have requested the exhibition and it will be exhibited there in several venues.

"From Scythopolis to Beisan: The Archaeological Excavations of Ancient Bet Shean", June 2005, Max and Iris Stern Gallery, Mount Scopus Campus (curators: Gila Hurvitz and Daphna Tsoran)

The excavations at Bet Shean, which began at the site in 1980 under the auspices of the Institute of Archaeology, are among the largest archaeological undertakings in Israel today.

Though Hellenistic Scythopolis was founded in the first half of the third century BCE, the city continued to be called Bet Shean by its Jewish population; this name lies at the core of the Arabic name “Beisan” as well. Roman Bet Shean was planned and built with straight streets intersecting at right angles; despite the changes made over time, the Roman city’s basic urban layout continued into the Umayyad period after the Muslim conquest. The shops lining both sides of the streets in the Roman period continued to function, with certain modifications, throughout the Byzantine and Umayyad periods.

The many shops and the rich finds discovered in them show that Bet Shean was a flourishing commercial center for hundreds of years. The finds from the excavations include a large quantity of scales and weights (made of bronze, glass, and lead), coins, seals, jewelry, pottery and glass vessels, and lamps (one bronze lamp bears the distinctly Jewish symbols of shofar, lulav, and ethrog).

On January 18, 749 CE, a severe earthquake struck the city, burying under piles of rubble both the disused monumental structures of the Roman-Byzantine period, such as the temple, nymphaeum, tetrapylon, theater and colonnaded streets, and the crowded shops and workshops of the Umayyad period.

The exhibition “From Scythopolis to Beisan” captures the final moments of the city before the earthquake. A replica of the Umayyad shopping street will exhibit artifacts in their original context as merchandise offered for sale in the shops. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to walk on the street and see before them the gate inlaid with the original mosaic inscriptions that date it; they will be able to window-shop for the items that were on sale on the morning of that fateful day in January 749. Through the shop windows one will see the remains of the Roman and Byzantine buildings in photographs and drawings.

This form of realization and dramatization will allow us to reconstruct and relive the last moments of the city of Bet Shean, which was frozen in time 1300 years ago. 


"The City of David", November 1989, Institute of Archaeology exhibition hall; May 2003, Max and Iris Stern Gallery, Mount Scopus Campus (curator: Gila Hurvitz)

The “City of David” exhibition has been presented at 17 museums and institutes around the world, in the USA, Canada, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea and India (catalogue in English).

The City of David excavation project (1978-1985), under the direction of the late Prof. Yigal Shiloh, was carried out on behalf of the City of David Society, which was founded by the Institute of Archaeology, the Israel Exploration Society, the Jerusalem Foundation, and a group of South African sponsors headed by Mr. Mendel Kaplan, the principal initiator of the Society and the excavations.

The archaeological excavations at the City of David uncovered chapters in the history of Jerusalem from the Chalcolithic period up to and including the Muslim period. This exhibition focused on the discoveries from the inception of settlement on the eastern hill up to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. 


"News from the Institute's Excavations", 1991, Institute of Archaeology exhibition hall (curator: Gila Hurvitz)

Finds from excavations carried out by the Institute were displayed. Among sites represented were Akhziv (the southern cemetery), biblical and classical Bet Shean, Gesher Benot Ya‘aqov, Hammat Gader, Hazor, Tel Miqne-Ekron and Ohalo II. 

"The Story of Masada", December 1993, Institute of Archaeology exhibition hall; June 2001, Max and Iris Stern Gallery, Mount Scopus Campus (curator: Gila Hurvitz)

The exhibition was presented at the Tel-Aviv Museum of Art and at the BYU Museum of Art, Provo, Utah (catalogues in Hebrew and English).

The excavations of Masada were initiated by the late Prof. Yigael Yadin. Two years of intensive on-site activity in 1963-1965 exposed a host of remarkable finds, including written items in Hebrew, Latin, Aramaic and Greek, as well as textiles, pottery, coins, glassware, worked stone objects and other finds. The excavations revealed concrete evidence of many facets of Jewish, Roman, and other cultures, and particularly of life within the fortress.

The exhibition displayed a wide selection of artifacts discovered in the excavations of 1963-1965. Some were exhibited to the public for the first time. The exhibition was arranged around three main foci, Herod, the rebels (Sicarii) and the Roman army, each representing the historical context and the use of the objects on display. Authentic architectural elements (columns and arches) decorated the exhibition walls, together with an exceptional display of fragments of delicate textiles and scrolls that have survived the wear of the centuries. Colored photographs as well as sketches and black-and-white prints of certain aspects of the story of Masada were also presented. 

"Mediterranean Peoples in Transition", June 1994, Institute of Archaeology exhibition hall (curator: Gila Hurvitz)

The exhibition was intended to provide an insight into the work of the Institute’s Philip and Muriel Berman Center for Biblical Archaeology. The exhibition was prepared for the international symposium, “Mediterranean Peoples in Transition: Thirteenth to Early Tenth Centuries B.C.E.”.

Artifacts were exhibited from the following sites: Tel Batash-Timnah (excavated by Prof. Amihai Mazar), Tel Beth Shean (excavated by Prof. Amihai Mazar), Deir el-Balah (excavated by Prof. Trude Dothan), Tel Dor (excavated by Prof. Ephraim Stern and Dr. Ilan Sharon), Hazor (excavated by Prof. Amnon Ben-Tor), Tel Mevorakh (excavated by Prof. Ephraim Stern), Tel Miqne-Ekron (excavated by Profs. Trude Dothan and Seymour Gitin), and the Yoqne‘am Regional Project (Tel Yoqne‘am, Tel Qashish, Tel Qiri, excavated by Prof. Amnon Ben-Tor). 

"Hasmonean Palaces in Jericho", June 2000, Max and Iris Stern Gallery, Mount Scopus Campus (curator: Gila Hurvitz)

The complete and most impressive remains from the Hasmonean period in Palestine were uncovered in the excavations conducted in Jericho in 1973-1987 (with additional seasons in 1998-1999). These excavations, by the initiative and under the supervision of Prof. Ehud Netzer, were conducted on behalf of the Institute of Archaeology, together with the Israel Exploration Society and the Archaeological Staff Officer of the Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria. The excavation finds provide a clear and detailed picture of the extensive royal estate, the complex of winter palaces built next to it, and the abundance of swimming pools and various installations nearby.