The works and new discoveres of the future TSM archeological exhibition: inside the construction site of “a museum in the museum”.


It’s been months since works in the construction site of the future Terra Sancta Museum archeological museum started in those ancient spaces of the Convent. A modern and innovative museum, unique for its beauty and for the

importance of the shown findings. Some rooms of the exhibition will be already opened in December 2017 and they will contain object found by the Franciscan Friars of the Custody of the Holy Land during their excavation works and from their collections.


From the ticket office you will cross a cistern in order to enter in the introductory room about the Franciscan archeological history in the Holy Land.

From here you will walk to more ancient places traditionally called “House of Herod”; at this point a Hellenistic cistern has to be crossed so that you can enter in the Herodian room and one other room about Jesus’ daily life. You then will proceed in a room about the monastic life, at last you will get to didactical space about Christian life (how they eat, the money use, funerary aspects, etc.)


Right now “works are in an intense phase of side building, with continuous discoveries of preexisting architectonical and archeological findings “explains the director of the architectural, museum and outfitting project Giovanni Tortelli. For example, recently, some Italian restorers of the “Kermesse restauri” firm in Rome made the mortar sample working at the first cistern of the museum and they taught the onsite workers how to fill the gaps between the stones (Khole) and the cleaning of the walled stones on the ancient structures.

When the passages through the rooms will be done we will proceed “settling in the installations, finishing the masonry murals which, due to the different types of building and dating, involve a more careful restoration work” explains young architect Vincenzo Zuppardo (a Italian Civil Service abroad volunteer).

In the modern building the works are concentrated on studying a structural consolidation of the areas, since they are part of one of the first reinforced concrete building constructed in Jerusalem. The test results for seismic adjustment of the structure could bring a works delay which will inevitably postponement the opening of some rooms in the archeological Museum.


During the pavements removing works new elements and unknown areas came out. In the modern building an ottoman decanter well was discovered in which a herodian stone was founded, the shape of it remind of a threshold of a door, probably used for covering the ottoman canaletto. On the same site other ottoman ceramics and maiolithical ceramics coming from the British mandate, with fabrics seals on them, mandate were founded. Even more interesting are the Mamelake findings discovered in the atrium of the “house of Herod”.

Under the several layers of the pavement three blocks of a large slab dated between the I-II centuries (when the Rome empire was ruling) composed by a very smooth stone were founded, they were probably used again in the medieval period. In addition some mosaics tiles, probably come from an ancient ecclesiastic building, and a large red stone column from Bethlehem, probably from the Byzantine period, were founded. “All these elements” explains Father Alliata, archaeologist and scientific director of the Terra Sancta Musuem, “are important because they strictly belong to this place history and they can explain something new about it and the history of Jerusalem”.



When the objects are chosen and the spaces are studied, the last part of the works, the rooms setting up, has also been thought to be in tune with the environment, in order to show how the Terra Sancta Museum will be “a Museum in a museum” as the museolog Gabriele Allevi and the head of the project Sara Cibin say.

We look for supporters who wish to link their name (family, company, organisation) to the Holy City of Jerusalem. With a donation the donor’s name will be carved in the typical local (Jerusalem) stone, which will be placed on the museum’s floor. A copy will be delivered to the donor.


Corrado Scardigno


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