Since it opened last spring at the Israel Museum, the exhibition of finds from the Jewish Quarter excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem has been drawing large and enthusiastic crowds.
And well it should. On display are the exciting results of six years of digging in an area only a few hundred yards from the great Temple Enclosure.
Collected by curator Yael Israeli, the objects in the exhibition date from the Herodian period,a when the area excavated comprised a fashionable and wealthy residential section overlooking the Holy Temple. The choice finds, on public display for the first time, are numerous and beautiful, varied in form, and rich in decoration. They afford a unique glimpse into the life of the rich and the powerful at a critical moment in history both for Jews and for Christians.
The author of this article, Professor Nachman Avigad of Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology, has directed the excavations described in this article almost continuously since 1969—and they are still in progress. This article has been adapted from the exhibition catalog prepared by Professor Avigad.—Ed.