The Saul A. Fox Center for Ancient Glass

imageIt is our great pleasure and honor to tell you that Saul A. Fox, a long-time friend and a great supporter of archaeological projects in Israel, agreed to support the establishment of the Saul A. Fox National Center for Ancient Glass in the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel. The National Campus and the Saul A. Fox National Center for Ancient Glass will become a Jerusalem landmark and a must-see stop for school children, archaeologists and researchers from all over the world, visitors to Israel and the Israeli public. Saul Fox’s incredible gift to the Israel Antiquities Authority joins a number of significant gifts that are uniquely important towards realizing our goal, and together form the cornerstone of our efforts to reach out and educate the public about the rich and diverse archaeological heritage of the Land of Israel. When completed, the National Campus – an education, research and illumination complex designed by Architect Moshe Safdie – will provide easy access to the largest collection of the Archaeology of the Land of Israel in the world.

The Ancient Glass Viewable Housing and Display

imageThe Ancient Glass Housing and Display Center in the National Campus will house all excavated ancient glass finds after the completion of their laboratory treatment and scientific research. The IAA’s collection of ancient glass contains more than 9,000 complete objects and thousands of indicative fragments. The Viewable Housing and Display Center in the National Campus is designed to be an active, growing facility, able to hold more than 20,000 glass vessels in optimal environmental conditions. It will provide long shelf life for the objects, as well as easy access for students, researchers, archaeologists and the general public, to view, study and research the collection. The objects will be arranged chronologically, from the Late Bronze period to the Muslim periods, as well as regionally – North, Center, South and Je

The Ancient Glass Viewable Conservation Center

imageThe Ancient Glass Conservation Center in the National Campus will be responsible for treating all glass finds from IAA excavations. Finds include bowls, glasses, wine glasses, bottles of different shapes, jars, beakers, cosmetics vessels, lamps, beads, bracelets, necklaces, amulets, pendants and more. Carefully recorded and photographed on site, the excavated vessels undergo preliminary sorting in order to determine the importance of each fragment or vessel and the need for further treatment. Glass finds are then sent to the laboratories still covered with layers of sand, mud and patina. They will be cleaned and restored, and later drawn, photographed and catalogued. No treatment of glass objects is given outside the laboratories, mainly due to the fragility of the objects, and to the importance of the layers of patina which require special study by experts prior to its cleaning.

One of the unique and fascinating features of the Saul A. Fox National Center for Ancient Glass in the National Campus will be the rare opportunity for the public to visit objects in the viewable Housing Center, as well as to observe the archaeological work performed in the Viewable Conservation Center. This remarkable feature is an important and dramatic example of the IAA’s mission to provide increasingly enhanced accessibility to its huge collections.

Ancient Glass in the Land of Israel

The origins of glass making and the early stages of its development began in the ancient Near East, in the Royal courts of Mesopotamia and Egypt. Some 2,000 years ago, during the Roman period, the invention of glassblowing in the eastern Mediterranean, perhaps Israel or at some point along the Phoenician coast, brought about a revolution in glassmaking. The characteristic transparency, delicacy, and subtle colors, as well as many of the forms – wineglasses, bottles, juglets and jars – that were introduced in the Roman period are still the trademarks of glassware today. Archaeological excavations began in the eastern Mediterranean in the nineteenth century. Excavations in Israel have uncovered assemblages of glass which enable regional and chronological classification of types and forms. Date and distribution, as well as patterns of trade and fashion can now be fixed with accuracy. Glass vessels help date archaeological strata and remains, as their typological changes over the years provide a chronological yardstick in a manner similar to that of pottery vessels and lamps.

The Israel Antiquities Authority is the pre-eminent organization in the fields of Biblical and Israeli archaeology, custodian of nearly 2 million objects, among them 15,000 Dead Sea Scrolls, the largest collection in the world of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is in the process of establishing the Schottenstein National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel including the World Center for the Dead Sea Scrolls and the National Center for State Treasures in the center of Jerusalem.

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