Skirball Museum of Biblical Archaeology In Jerusalem


From 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 ritual practices at an Israelite cult center. Other subjects on display are 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 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.

Visit the Museum

Religious Life in Ancient Israel

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 Iron Age (10th century BCE) “Solomonic” gate at Gezer, and the 9th-8th century BCE gate from Tel Dan, probably constructed by the Aramaens.

Sacred Precinct Reconstructions and Various Cult Artifacts

Parts of this precinct are reconstructed in the museum and various ritual artifacts, dating from the 9th through the 2nd centuries BCE are displayed. These include sacrificial altars, 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.”

A Multisensory Experience

The museum gives visitors an opportunity to experience the atmosphere of antiquity and even to touch 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 next to the model of the Israelite gate, near which it was found.