At a festive ceremony in Jerusalem on October 15, 2006, ground was broken for the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel. This new state-of-the-art center is being built to make accessible nearly a million archaeological artifacts—including 15,000 Dead Sea Scroll fragments—that collectively represent the cultural heritage of the Land of Israel. It will serve as the national center for the “collection, study, education, conservation, restoration, presentation and exposure” of Israel’s archaeological material and work, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The museum complex, which has been designed by prominent Israeli architect Moshe Safdie, will sit opposite the Knesset, between the Israel Museum and the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem. According to Safdie, the plan of the building is meant to reflect an archaeological excavation. It is arranged around three central courtyards on descending levels and covered by a dark glass canopy, which is reminiscent of the shade nets used over archaeological digs. The hole at the center of the canopy will allow rainwater to collect and flow down into a pool in the courtyard below.