D.C. Bible Museum to Borrow Ancient Artifacts From Israel

First displays, when museum branch goes live in 2017, will include glassware, stoneware and a Philistine altar from the Canaanite period.

Ruth Schuster
Ruth Schuster
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A Philistine altar from the late Canaanite era.Credit: Leonid Padrol, courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authorit
Ruth Schuster
Ruth Schuster

From the autumn of 2017, visitors to the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. can see artifacts from the biblical era of the Holy Land, courtesy of an agreement struck with the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The rare treasures, from among the two million ancient artifacts stored in Israel’s National Treasures, will be displayed in a dedicated top-floor gallery. The new section should open with the rest of the Museum of the Bible in the fall of 2017, says the IAA.

The gallery will also be displaying freshly uncovered artifacts from digs in process.

Glassware, about 2,000 years old, found in a burial cave in Jerusalem.Credit: Leonid Padrol, courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authorit

Among the antiquities  already slated for display are clay jars from Qumram, that had contained some of the documents that would become known as the Dead Sea scrolls. Another display will show a table and vessels carved from the white limestone typical to Jerusalem, dating from the early Roman Period (the 1st century BCE to the 1st century CE).

Glass vessels 2,000 years old, found in a burial cave in Jerusalem, will also be featured – as will an elaborate Philistine altar from the late Iron Age (late 9th century BCE-early 8th).

The Museum of the Bible’s assets already include cuneiform tablets believed to date from the time of Abraham, biblical papyri and manuscripts, Torah scrolls, and rare printed Bibles.

The Museum of the Bible might even wind up displaying things it finds itself: its people are currently beginning an archeological dig at Tel Shimron.

Clay jars from the City of David, Jerusalem.Credit: Meidad Suchowolski, Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority