The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Archaeology   Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Archaeology Wing  
Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Archaeology Wing
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The Israel Museum's permanent exhibition of archaeology is devoted to the ancient Land of Israel – home to peoples of different cultures and faiths for more than a million years. Presenting some 6,000 finds, mainly from archaeological excavations in Israel, the Bronfman Archaeology Wing tells a unique story arranged in seven chronological chapters, shedding light on momentous historical events, cultural achievements, and technological advances, while revealing the everyday lives of the peoples of the region from the Stone Age through the Ottoman Period. Thematic galleries devoted to the development of ancient Hebrew script, the story of coins, and the revolutionary art of glassmaking enhance the narrative exhibition, as do fascinating displays presenting the neighboring cultures of Egypt, the Ancient Near East, Greece, Italy, and the Islamic Near East, each of which left an indelible mark on the region.

I invite you to explore our website and enjoy a glimpse of some of the remarkable treasures on view in the exhibition. I hope that someday you may have the opportunity to visit our galleries in person.

Exhibitions map
See the department curators on the senior staff list.

Highlights on view include:

  • The oldest artwork in the world – a female figurine created almost a quarter of a million years ago, excavated at the site of Berekhat Ram in the Golan.

  • An astonishing, 6,500–5,500 year-old hoard of 429 ritual objects, mostly made of copper, found in a remote cave in the Judean Desert. The treasure may have belonged to the sanctuary at En Gedi, one of the oldest in the world.
  • An impressive stone relief depicting a lion and lioness at play. Dating from the 14th century BCE, it is one of the few monumental stone-carvings from the Bronze Age and an outstanding example of Canaanite narrative art – story-telling in pictures.

  • Reconstruction of the "Holy of Holies " from the Judahite temple at Arad, situated on Judah's southern border. The temple was intentionally buried in the time of King Hezekiah of Judah, who sought to abolish all public worship outside the Temple in Jerusalem.
  • The "House of David" inscription, part of a monumental stele of the 9th century BCE commemorating the military victories of Hazael, King of Aram, which provides  archaeological evidence for the existence of the Davidic dynasty.
  • An informal sketch of the Temple vessels – the menorah, the showbread table, and the incense altar – found incised into a thick layer of plaster on the wall of a house near the Temple Mount. Dating from the 1st century BCE, it was produced during the heyday of the Second Temple.

  • A 2nd-century CE statue of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, apparently used for ritual worship, found in a camp of the Sixth Legion in the Beth Shean Valley. It is one of the few extant bronze sculptures of an emperor from the Roman Period.

  • Reconstruction of the presbytery (bema) of a Byzantine church in the Holy Land, using original architectural elements from 17 different sites.

  • A rich hoard of some 1,000 copper-alloy objects found hidden in a metalsmith's workshop in Tiberias, dating from the 11th century.

  • A child’s coffin of painted wood from the 3rd century BCE decorated with a scarab at the top, the protective figure of the sky Egyptian goddess Nut in the center, and deities from the realm of the dead below

  • A wall relief from the palace of the Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II at his capital Nimrud, dating from 883–859 BCE, featuring a stylized date palm flanked by protective genies.
  •  A life-size, 5th-century BCE terracotta mask of Dionysos, the god of wine, from Boeotia, Greece, which probably served as a cult image of the god.

  • A mihrab from Isfahan, Iran, of the 17th century, richly decorated in colorful glazed and cut frit tiles with geometric and floral patterns and Qur'anic verses.

  • Precious 4th-century CE gold-glass bases from the catacombs of Rome probably used as tomb markers and decorated with Jewish symbols.