US foundation digs deep to fund Israel’s archaeology library

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The Mandel National Library and Archives is part of a $80m campus dedicated to the field

By Garry Shaw. Web only
Published online: 02 April 2014

Israel will soon have the largest archaeological library in the Middle East, thanks to a gift from the Cleveland-based Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation. The library is part of the $80m Schottenstein National Campus for the Archaeology, currently under construction near the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, which will eventually house more than two million artefacts and 15,000 fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The archaeology campus, designed by the Israeli-born architect Moshe Safdie and scheduled to be completed in April 2016, has been primarily funded by private donors in the US, Europe and Israel. Covering an area of 35,000 sq. m, it will include an education center, an auditorium, exhibition galleries, and rooftop gardens, and will serve as the headquarters of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), according to a press release.

As part of the complex, the Cleveland foundation will fund the creation of both the Mandel National Library for the Archaeology of Israel, which will house around 150,000 volumes, and the Mandel National Archives, which will store documents from the Israel Antiquities Authority archive, including excavation permits, plans and maps.

The archaeology campus will bring together two million artefacts and thousands of Dead Sea Scroll fragments, many of which are currently stored in warehouses across Israel, to be displayed to the public for the first time. Newly restored fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls will get their own dedicated gallery, although the most complete examples will remain at the Israel Museum. The public will also be able to watch conservation in action through windows in the restoration labs.

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