Thousands of documents tracing archaeological discoveries in Israel in the past 100 years will be published in an online database in the coming days, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Wednesday.
As part of a grant from the Landmarks Heritage Fund from the Prime Minister’s Office, the IAA used special scanners to preserve thousands of maps, letters, engineering plans, and other documents from Jerusalem and Akko dating back to the British Mandate period. These files are already online at the archive website.
Researchers can find fascinating items such as a letter from 1870 detailing excavations in the City of David/Silwan area, the original architectural plan of the Holy Sepulcher Church which was prepared for renovating the site following a 1927 earthquake, or a British planning survey of the Temple Mount.
The website’s search features are clumsy and the IAA is still working out some bugs, but the material brings the dusty archives of the Rockefeller Museum to the wider public for the first time. The little-visited museum near the New Gate of the Old City was originally the home of the British Mandatory Department of Antiquities before becoming the Israel Antiquities Authority.