Ancient Crafts and Industries 


The exhibition presents the production and research methods of seven ancient industries and crafts, enabling us to understand how objects were manufactured in ancient times.
 
At the center of the exhibition is a mosaic floor from an ancient synagogue in Beth-Shean, from 'The House of Leontis', named after one Leontis, who is mentioned in an inscription in the mosaic. The 1,500 years old mosaic is decorated with figures of animals and a central medallion depicting a seven-branch Menora, above which is written the Hebrew word for peace: shalom. The exhibition includes an explanation of ancient mosaic art, stressing the technological aspects involved in its production. The mosaic is surrounded by stone benches, reminding one of the structure of the ancient synagogue that served as a place of assembly for the community.
The other six industries and crafts displayed around this central exhibition are:

Metalworking: The use of metal is one of the most important innovations in human history and marks a turning point in the history of technology. The exhibition display various minerals and metals used in ancient times and the methods of smelting and creating metal objects.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Woodworking: Objects made of wood are rarely found in archaeological excavations, since wood is an organic material that decomposes. At times, remnants of objects made of wood have been found at sites. The exhibition features finds that were discovered in dry areas in our country such as Ein-Gedi and in other areas of the Negev. It also relates to the customary processing of wood in our region in ancient times; the carpenter's tools; various methods of wood joints; wooden locks; wood plates; wood combs; cosmetics container; coffins and reconstructed furniture.

 
 
 
Glassmaking: Demonstrated in this exhibit are methods of producing ancient glass vessels: starting from glass made by the core-forming technique to the glassblowing technique, which was invented 2,000 years ago. The ways of producing raw glass are shown as are methods of decorating glass vessels.
Stone Vessels Industry: One of the interesting phenomena characterizing archaeological finds at sites toward the end of the Second Temple period, particularly in and around Jerusalem, is the presence of many vessels made of limestone. The cause of the appearance of this flourishing industry at this time was the Jewish law (halachah), which states that stone vessels are not susceptible to ritual impurity. The exhibition recreates the production methods of stone vessels and also displays vessels that were used in everyday life in the Second Temple period, such as stone tables and coffins. Also shown are stone vessels in various stages of their production.

 
 
 
The Art of Writing: The invention of writing, which is a system of agreed upon graphic symbols that serve inter-personal communication, is one of the most important inventions in human history, as it generated a revolution in human consciousness and people's way of life. Presented in this exhibit are writing tools, materials, and three types of scripts that were predominant in ancient times: cuneiform in Mesopotamia, hieroglyphics in Egypt, and alphabetic writing, a central discovery that took place in this region in the mid-2nd millennium. Various finds upon which writing in these scripts appears demonstrate the special nature of each script.

 
 

The Physician's Craft: This exhibition introduces the visitor to the world of healing in ancient times. The subjects covered in this exhibit include: types of ancient diseases and methods of healing, using familiar methods of rational medicine, including various medicines made from minerals and plans. Among the impressive artifacts are the surgical instruments of the physician from the Roman period.
 


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