Institute of Archaeology Institute of Archaeology
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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During the last fifteen years, exhibitions presenting artifacts discovered during the excavations of the Institute have been mounted.

Current Exhibition:

The Masada Archaeological Museum, opening date 2007, Masada (curator: Gila Hurvitz)

The aim of the museum is to present to the visitor the diverse archaeological material — vessels, personal articles, weapons, coins, epigraphical finds and others — discovered in the Masada excavations. The presentation emphasizes the historical context of the artifacts by guiding the visitor through the story of Masada from beginning to end. The content and design of the exhibition are based on two principles:
  1. The artifacts focus on three main themes: Herod, the rebels (Sicarii), and the Roman army. An additional section is devoted to the Byzantine finds at the site.

  2. The artifacts are presented within a visual context that sets the stage for the story.

The accompanying texts elaborate on the historical background and chronological framework, and enhance the visitor’s understanding of the political and military processes embedded within the story of Masada. Placing this information in its historical context, between Rome and Jerusalem, and in both the Herodian period and the time of the revolt, greatly enriches the presentation of the artifacts.

The presentation of the objects in the museum does not compete with the explanations given on the hilltop site of Masada; rather, these two dimensions complement one another. 


"House of the Bronzes – A Treasure of Metal Objects of the Fatimid Period in Tiberias", June 1999, Institute of Archaeology exhibition hall (curator: Gila Hurvitz)

Approximately one thousand bronze objects were discovered in three large storage jars exposed in excavations carried out in Tiberias in 1998 by a team from the Institute of Archaeology, under the direction of Prof. Yizhar Hirschfeld and Oren Gutfeld.

Two jars were found standing inside two large pits dug beneath the floor. The third and largest jar was found on the floor. Bronze objects, parts of vessels, pieces of metal, metal scrap that was prepared for remelting, coins, and one glass object were all jammed tightly into the jars. The upper part of the neck of one of the jars had been removed in order to place the objects inside it easily. A coin of the Byzantine Emperor Michael VII (1071-1078 C.E.) gives the earliest possible date for the burial of this hoard. Although the metal industry in Tiberias is not mentioned explicitly in the historical sources, this treasure joins four others, which also contained jewelry and gold coins, discovered in excavations in the city in recent decades.

Who was the owner of the treasure? What was his occupation? Why did he bury these objects? These questions remain unanswered for the moment. The objects thus remained hidden for over nine hundred years.