Happy Birthday Davidson Center

imageOn the occasion of the Fifth Anniversary of the establishment of the Davidson Center for Exhibition and Virtual Reconstruction in the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, we are delighted to tell you that the Israel Antiquities Authority, with support from the Friends, has embarked on the development of a second viewing gallery for the presentation of the Real Time Virtual Simulation Model, and the creation of a second Model focusing on the Temple Mount structures during the Early Islamic, Umayyad, Period. Both the new Model and the new viewing gallery will be unveiled and opened to the public during Sukkot, October 2006; both are made possible through the continued, exemplary generosity of William Davidson.


imageSince its opening in April 2001, the Davidson Center, situated in the most illustrious location in Israel, between Jerusalem’s Old City Walls and the southern Wall of the Temple Mount, has been a magnet for visitors to Jerusalem – drawing nearly a quarter of a million visitors in 2005 – and is rapidly becoming one of the highlights of a visit to the Holy City. Demand for sessions with the one-of-a-kind Real-Time Virtual Simulation Model is at an all time high, prompting the creation of a new space where the model can be viewed and studied.

The new viewing gallery will be established on the Mezzanine floor of the Center, in the northern “Arched Room” which contains the original, beautifully conserved arches from the Umayyad Period, and will enable up to 35 people at a time to view a guided session with the VR Model that will run on newly installed computer and visualization systems.

imageThe new VR Model that will be launched in October will focus on the structures of the Early Islamic period of Jerusalem, from 660-750 CE (also known as the Umayyad period). The new visual reconstruction model of the Umayyad period structures will be significant. The general public, students, researchers and archaeologists using the simulation model will be able to interactively explore and understand the changes to the site of the Temple Mount enclosure, and compare the physical situation of the area during the Umayyad period with the Herodian Temple Mount. The extensive research and data will be documented and available on our website – www.archpark.org.il

Built by the Urban Simulation Team at UCLA and the archaeologists of the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Umayyad Period Model will include the reconstruction of the excavated remains of the Umayyad period monumental buildings along the southern and western walls of the Temple Mount, general massing of the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa, the smaller structures and landscaping on the platform, and 'switches' within the model to interactively toggle between the Herodian Temple Mount and the Early Islamic periods. There will be a detailed model of the primary monumental building that was partly restored in-situ and that will be detailed enough so as to allow at least one continuous 'flight' path into the building from the street, into the courtyard, and onto the platform.

The greatest advantage of the Real Time simulation Model on display in the Davidson Center is that it allows visitors to experience the Temple Mount in a manner never before possible. Visitors can easily 'place' themselves within a digitally accurate perspective representation of the site and dynamically move through the monumental spaces, thereby gaining a greater understanding of the complex's temporal and spatial qualities. The user has complete freedom of movement within the environment and can control their own viewing experience.


The Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority are proud of the great success of the Davidson Center and the impact it has on the visitor. The Friends support the promotion of archaeological research and education, and sponsor activities designed to share the antiquities and heritage of the Holy Land with as large a public as possible.

We invite you to visit the Davidson Center in the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, the largest and most important among the 30,000 archaeological sites under the custodianship of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Israel’s preeminent organization in the fields of Israeli and Biblical Archaeology.

To view a short video on display at the Davidson Center, documenting the history of excavations in the Jerusalem Archaeological Park please visit the following URL:


For an indepth, detailed information about the history and archaeology of the Jerusalem Archaeological Park including maps, diagrams, bibliography, documents and specially written articles, please click on the following link:


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