Digging deep: archaeology for everyone
From ancient Egyptian scarabs to lost British pennies, the Antiquities Authority has a million artifacts in storerooms that are bursting at the seams. Here’s where to see some of the most intriguing
haul Gefen grew up in a miniscule apartment in Dorot, the first kibbutz to be founded in the Negev. On one side of the only sink in the one-and-a-half-room dwelling stood a box of caustic soda for cleaning metal; on the other, a container with paraffin oil for restoration. Both items belonged to his father, Yekutiel, who like many others of his generation was obsessed with the past and spent his free time combing the nearby fields, tels, and wadis for artifacts left behind by long-ago Negev settlers.
As a child, Gefen often tagged along with his dad — but not because he was interested in archeology. It was the joy of picking things up off the ground and seeing the look on his father’s face when they turned out to be special, he says. “Once I brought him what I thought was a tiny bead,” relates Gefen. “My father was thrilled, and told me I had discovered a scarab — an ancient Egyptian amulet decorated with a beetle.”
Today, in addition to his other kibbutz duties, Gefen is in charge of Dorot’s marvelous archeological exhibit. Like dozens of other little-known archeological exhibits scattered throughout Israel, Dorot’s is free to all comers.