The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has transferred the National Antiquities Collection from Jerusalem to a new, larger warehouse in the industrial zone of Beth-Shemesh, about 12 miles west of the capital.
The new facility, which covers an area of roughly 26,000 square feet, contains more than 750,000 artifacts—most of them never displayed before—ranging from prehistoric to Ottoman times and catalogued in chronological order. The storerooms are divided into six major sections: Prehistory, the Chalcolithic-Bronze Age (4500–1200 B.C.), the Iron Age-Persian period (1200–332 B.C.), the Hellenistic-Byzantine period (332 B.C.-638 A.D.), the Islamic period (638 A.D.-1917 A.D.) and stone architectural elements. According to the IAA, its collection is the largest in the Middle East, and contains the oldest artifacts found outside Africa.