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The Life and Times of Jerusalem: A Tour to Israel Museum

Posted by on May 28, 2015

The Life and Times of Jerusalem: A Tour to Israel Museum

Our class continues our field trip adventures around Israel to physically see what we are learning in the classroom. This month our field trips have centered on Jerusalem, in connection with our second semester seminar Archaeology of Jerusalem taught by the archaeologist of Jerusalem, Prof. Ronny Reich.

In the beginning of this month our class went on a walking tour of old Jerusalem, touring Herodian period houses, and walking the old Roman Cardo; and later this month we went to the Israel Museum to view small finds found in Jerusalem and Israel. Once again our tour guide was the wonderful Prof. Reich.

Model of Jerusalem

Our first stop of the second tour was at the Model of Ancient Jerusalem. Here Ronny pointed out all the places we had visited in person the week before, so that we could get an idea of where everything was located in comparison to each other. Then he went on to discuss where he believes the three walls of Jerusalem, as described by Flavius Josephus, were located.

Needless to say Ronny disagreed with what the model presented. In fact there were several things Ronny disagreed with such as where the poorer quarter was located. Ronny maintains that the poor of any time period are always located on top of the city dump and not in the central valley. From then on, as we circled the model, we reviewed everything we had previously learned in the seminar, and we were able to put all of our knowledge onto one 3 dimensional map. More importantly we learned how Prof. Reich viewed the ancient city of Jerusalem through his archaeological research.

Our first stop at Israel Museum was at the Model of Ancient Jerusalem

The Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Archaeology Wing

Our next stop at the Israel Museum was to the Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Archaeology Wing. Here Ronny took us through the various exhibits stopping at different points to describe and discuss what was being displayed and its importance to Jerusalem and Israel history. One of the first stops was to the Tel Dan Inscription, which is the oldest document which mentions the “House of David.” To the left of this exhibit were various examples of volute capitals, an architectural element found all over Israel and is often an indicator of the Judahite Kingdom.

Our next stop at the Israel Museum was at the Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Archaeology Wing, where Ronny took us through the various exhibits of importance to Jerusalem and Israel history.

Another stop was to view the different types of burial methods. Here there were many examples of ossuaries, from painted to engraved. There were also examples of burial and feasting goods. Here Ronny stopped to discuss stone Jars used to store water that were from the same time period of Jesus of Nazareth.

The Dead Sea Scrolls

Our final stop was to the Shrine of the Book which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, or by the other name the Qumran Scrolls. Here Ronny briefly discussed how the Dead Sea Scrolls were originally found, how many books of the Hebrew bible are represented in the Dead Sea Scrolls (972 if you’re curious), and described the people who wrote the Qumran Scrolls. We were then shown the type of jars the scrolls were stored in, after which we had some time to explore the exhibits and view the scrolls in our own pace.

All in all one of the best museum tours I have ever had!

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