Skirball Museum of Biblical Archaeology in Jerusalem - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Skirball Museum of Biblical Archaeology in Jerusalem

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archaeological workFrom its inception in 1986, the Skirball Museum of Biblical Archaeology has been a showcase for the archaeological work of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology. The exhibition tells the story of three ancient biblical cities: Laish/Dan, Gezer, and Aroer.

Four major themes are presented in the Museum: fortifications, Canaanite burial customs, portrayal of the human image, and cult practices. In addition, special subjects are displayed, such the earliest (Proto-Canaanite) alphabet known in Israel, dating from the 15th century BCE., incised on storage jars from Gezer, the settlement of the tribe of Dan in the early 12th century BCE at Tel Dan, and the trade emporium of Aroer in the Negev, in the 8th and 7th centuries BCE on the caravan route connecting Arabia with the ports of the Mediterranean shore.

The fortifications are illustrated by three large-scale models of city gates: the triple-arched gate of Laish from the 18th century BCE, found almost complete, the Solomonic gate of the 10th century BCE from Gezer, and the 9th-8th century BCE gate from Tel Dan. From the Canaanite period examples of burial customs from Laish and Gezer are displayed. The sacred precinct at Tel Dan, established, according to I King 12:25-33 by Jeroboam I, the son of Nebat, in the late 10th century BCE, is crucial to our understanding of religious life ancient Israel. Parts of this precinct are reconstructed in the Museum and various cult artifacts, dating from the 9th through the 2nd centuries BCE are displayed. These include altars for sacrifice, a ritual oil press (previously thought to be a water libation installation), a bathtub for purification ceremonies, ritual offering stands, altars and figurines, and a bi-lingual inscription in Greek and Aramaic reading "To the God who is in Dan Zoilos made a vow."

archaeological workThe museum gives visitors, including the visually challenged, an opportunity to experience the atmosphere of antiquity and even to touch several replicas, including a replica of the "House of David" inscription found at Tel Dan, considered one of the most significant archaeological discoveries from the biblical period, displayed in its contextual location next to the model of the Israelite gate.

Contact Us: For further information about the Skirball Museum of Biblical Archaeology, please contact us at or 972-2-620-3257.