Resources for Schools - Museum Collections
Museums with Ancient Israel collections
Introduction and Tips
Searching for antiquities from Ancient Israel held in Museums around the world is not a straightforward task. There is a plethora of synonyms or search terms that may be used by each Museum to refer to these objects. Generally, the broad category will be “Ancient Near East”, but it may also be “Egypt and the Near East”, “Asia and the Near East”, “Classical and Near East”, “Ancient Mediterranean” or “Ancient Middle East”.
Once you have located the appropriate collection, refining the search with the keyword “Israel” will not always bear fruit. Try also: “Palestine”, “Canaan / Canaanite”, “Levant / Levantine”, “Israelite”, “Judea”, “Samaria”. As a start, here is a list of Museums that hold an Ancient Israel collection, especially those with information about the collection and/or a searchable catalogue with images available online.
Classics and Archaeology Virtual Museum, University of Melbourne
Documents the Classics and Archaeology Collection of the University of Melbourne, which is located at the Ian Potter Museum of Art. The Virtual Museum is a collaborative project of the Centre for Classics & Archaeology, the Ian Potter Museum of Art and ArtsIT.
Museum of Ancient Culture, Macquarie University
The Ancient Israel collection spans from the early 3rd millennium BC to the Late Iron Age
Nicholson Museum, University of Sydney
Near Eastern Collection
TOMBS, TELLS AND TEMPLES: EXCAVATING THE NEAR EAST
The Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem
The Bible Lands Museum is devoted to the artefacts of the Bible and the Ancient Near East. The link below will lead to their homepage from which one can access the collection online through the “Exhibitions” page.
Eretz-Israel Museum, Tel Aviv
See: Permanent Exhibits
Hecht Museum, University of Haifa
See: Permanent Archaeological Exhibitions [Symbol] Archaeology of the Land of Israel in Chronological Sequence
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
See: Archaeology Wing [Symbol] Archaeology of the Land of Israel
The Israel Museum's permanent exhibition of archaeology is devoted to the ancient Land of Israel – home to peoples of different cultures and faiths for more than a million years. The Bronfman Archaeology Wing presents some 6,000 finds, mainly from archaeological excavations in Israel, and sheds light on momentous historical events, cultural achievements, and technological advances, while revealing the everyday lives of the peoples of the region from the Stone Age through the Ottoman Period, telling a unique story arranged in seven chronological collections:
The Dawn of Civilization The Land of Canaan Israel and the Bible Greeks, Romans, and Jews Under Roman Rule The Holy Land Muslims and Crusaders
Each section has a link to the relevant online collection complete with images.
Or, search the entire collection through the online catalogue:
See also the Thematic Collections:
A special online collection of Israelite and Persian Period artefacts are also available at:
The Israel Museum also hosts the Shrine of the Book (Dead Sea Scrolls online)
The Israel Numismatic Society
Dedicated to the advancement of the study of numismatics in Israel, the Israel Numismatic Society members are premiere scholars in their field. Included in the “Links” section of their website one will find a plethora of online research material as well as links to top numismatic collections around the world. In addition, the “Publications” section provides links to research done by group members and information on both on-line and off-line resources.
Museum of Regional and Mediterranean Archaeology
The museum houses exhibits originating from exactly where the museum stands today- the Jezreel Valley. Unique and beautiful ancient vessels and figurines showcase the variety of cultures that flourished at the site, which was once on the route of a very important ancient road over which goods, people and armies travelled from the Mediterranean basin to the lands of the East.
Rockefeller Archaeological Museum, Jerusalem
Houses the extraordinary collection of antiquities unearthed in excavations conducted in Israel mainly during the time of the British Mandate (1919-1948). The Museum was opened in 1938. It contains thousands of artefacts arranged in chronological order, ranging from prehistoric times to the Ottoman period, including a 9,000-year old statue from Jericho, gold jewellery from the Bronze Age, and much more.
Treasures from the Rockefeller Museum Online Collection
User friendly online searchable catalogue with complete images. Filter by time period.
Available through the Israel Antiquities Authority National Treasures Online.
Museum of Yarmukian Culture, Kibbutz Shaar Hagolan
Late Stone Age collection. The Yarmukian Culture is an 8000 year-old agricultural Neolithic culture that represents the transition to permanent settlement and to a dramatic change in the development of architecture. The greatest innovation of the Yarmukian Culture was the use of pottery - the earliest known in Israel.
See the photo galleries at
The American Numismatics Society, New York.
Search for coins. The link below directs to the homepage of the American Numismatics Society, one of the premiere organisations for the collection of currency from antiquity. Their collection can be accessed through the “Collections” link.
Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
Collection of Biblical manuscripts in Greek and Coptic from 3rd-6th century CE, including Deuteronomy, Joshua and Psalms.
Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan
Lamps, vessels, seals, jewellery and more from the Bronze and Iron Age discovered in Israel.
Click on Kelsey Museum Artifacts Database and then enter “Israel” as the search term. (Alternatively, go to ‘Advanced Search’ and type ‘Israel’ into the Provenance field.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Not easy to find in their online collection but they have an extensive collection from Ancient Israel with detailed online catalogue entries and images. Instructions:
(Or from the Museum home page click ‘Art’ and then ‘Collection’)
There will be no listings for the geographic location Israel, Palestine, Levant or Canaan.
Instead, under Artwork Type, select Department, then choose Ancient Near Eastern Art.
Now under Geographic Location, select Levant.
You can then go to Sort by and choose Date to see hundreds of amazing objects from 11 000 BCE to 500 CE. You can then choose to refine by Date/Era.
(NB. There will be no relevant options under Artist/Culture.)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Catalogue of Ancient Near Eastern Art (Levant) not available online.
Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, Chicago.
- Under Museum Gallery, select Megiddo Gallery. Sort objects according to time period.
- Or, under Place Name, select Israel. You can then refine by Dating.
Penn Museum. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia
Canaan and Ancient Israel Gallery.
The Museum's collections from Syria-Palestine date largely to the Bronze and Iron Ages and illustrate the variety of artefacts characteristic of the area's successive archaeological cultures. They include domestic tools, weaponry, jewellery, cult and funerary objects, cosmetics, stone vessels and implements, and above all pottery--an abundant and durable source of information about the past.
This online exhibit explores the identities of the ancient Canaanites and Israelite peoples in pre-historical times through the material remains that they have left behind.
Semitic Museum, Harvard University
American archaeologist George A. Reisner’s expedition to the site of Samaria (Sebaste), the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Israel. Reisner located remains of the royal palace built by Omri and Ahab during the Israelite period, as well as remnants of buildings constructed during later periods of occupation by Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans. Among the many artefacts found were ostraca (pottery fragments) depicting Hebrew-character inscriptions in carbon ink of Biblical names and memoranda of commercial shipments. You can view all items in the collection.
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto
Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Gallery of Rome and the Near East
Artefacts representing the Roman expansion to the east into the lands of what is present day Syria, Jordan and Israel from 64 BC to AD 135.
Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford, UK
See: Ancient Near Eastern Terracottas (ANET)
Search under ‘region’ for Canaan, Israel, Palestine and Southern Levant
Also see the 7000 year-old human skull from Jericho
British Museum, London, UK
Department of the Middle East
Covers the ancient and contemporary civilisations and cultures of the Middle East from the Neolithic period until the present.
Search especially: [Symbol] Places [Symbol] Lachish
See also the Archaeological Collection of the Palestine Exploration Fund
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK
Finds from major excavations crucial to the development of archaeological science, such as those conducted by Kathleen Kenyon at Jericho, one of the oldest continually occupied cities in the world.
Oriental Museum, Durham University, UK
Near and Middle East Collection
Objects in the collection obtained from Sir Leonard Woolley’s excavations at Ur; from Kathleen Kenyon’s excavations at Jericho; from the excavations at Lachish sponsored by Henry Wellcome and from a number of other sites.
Search the collection here: https://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/whatshere/discover/
Le Musée du Louvre, Paris, France
Department of Near Eastern Antiquities: Levant
See especially: Mesha Stele
Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Holland
Dutch National Museum of Antiquities
See [Symbol] Permanent Presentations [Symbol] Near East
And [Symbol] Search Collection. Use “Israel” as a search term
Musée Bible+Orient, Freiburg, Switzerland
Bible and Orient Museum
Online database of objects. Search by time period
See also: Domestic ceramics from Judah
University of Aberdeen, Museums and Museum Studies, Scotland, UK
Search the collection online
In the “Online Catalogue Records”
Refine Collection to “Human Culture Collection”
And Place Key as “Israel”
World Museum, National Museums Liverpool, UK
Ancient Near East collection. Including archaeological material from excavations at Lachish and Jericho.