Finds Gone Astray

The Land of Israel, along with its neighbors, is home to vast numbers of archeological sites from every period of human civilization. Naturally, such a wealth of sites and antiquities has become the focus of much archaeological research, but it has also drawn the undesirable attention of professional looters who exploit the demand for ancient artifacts among private collectors and cultural institutions around the world. Working hastily to reach layers that contain the richest finds, these looters use tools and excavation methods that cause irreversible damage to archaeological sites.

With the establishment of the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria in 1967, the Antiquities Department (ADCA) was charged with oversight of archaeological research, as well as the prevention of looting and unauthorized trade in antiquities. Over the years, the ADCA has confiscated tens of thousands of artifacts either stolen from archeological sites in Judea and Samaria or smuggled into the region from other parts of the Middle East. In recent years, the ADCA has devoted considerable efforts towards raising awareness of these finds among researchers and the general public. The display in front of you is part of this endeavor and opens in conjunction with the publication of the first volume in a series of catalogues that will showcase the objects confiscated from looters and unauthorized dealers in antiquities by the ADCA.