A new national archaeology complex is planned for central Jerusalem, which will ultimately be the main administrative center for the Israel Antiquities Authority and house millions of artifacts, including much of the Dead Sea Scrolls collection, it was announced on Tuesday.
The center, to be built near the Israel Museum in the capital’s Givat Ram neighborhood, will be “the largest archaeological library in the Middle East,” according to an antiquities authority press release. Slated to open in April 2016, the complex was designed by architect Moshe Safdie, who designed such major Jerusalem landmarks as Yad Vashem and the Mamilla shopping center.
The new complex will encompass an area of 35,000 square meters (over 6 acres) and, in addition to housing over two million artifacts, 150,000 books and 15,000 fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, will contain an auditorium, cafe, library, exhibits, laboratories, gardens, an educational center and the administrative offices of the IAA.
The campus is planned to become the “primary study center for Israeli archaeology and history” and be a center for archaeologists, academics and the general public. The complex was primarily financed by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation of Cleveland, Ohio.
The project is “the largest and most important…being built in Jerusalem this decade,” IAA head Shuka Dorfman said, and added that the center will preserve “the archaeological and cultural heritage of the country and grant access to one and all.”