Thursday, October 1, 2020

Archaeology, Heritage and Ethics in the Western Wall Plaza, Jerusalem: Darkness at the End of the Tunnel

Archaeology, Heritage and Ethics in the Western Wall Plaza, Jerusalem: Darkness at the End of the Tunnel 

Raz Kletter

Archaeology, Heritage and Ethics in the Western Wall Plaza, Jerusalem : Darkness at the End of the Tunnel book cover

ISBN 9780367143350
Published August 19, 2019 by Routledge
362 Pages

Book Description

This volume is a critical study of recent archaeology in the Western Wall Plaza area, Jerusalem. Considered one of the holiest places on Earth for Jews and Muslims, it is also a place of controversy, where the State marks ‘our’ remains for preservation and adoration and ‘theirs’ for silencing.

Based on thousands of documents from the Israel Antiquities Authority and other sources, such as protocols of planning committees, readers can explore for the first time this archaeological ‘heart of darkness’ in East Jerusalem. The book follows a series of unique discoveries, reviewing the approval and execution of development plans and excavations, and the use of the areas once excavation has finished. Who decides what and how to excavate, what to preserve – or ‘remove’? Who pays for the archaeology, for what aims? The professional, scientific archaeology of the past happens now: it modifies the present and is modified by it. This book ‘excavates’ the archaeology of East Jerusalem to reveal its social and political contexts, power structures and ethics.   

Readers interested in the history, archaeology and politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will find this book useful, as well as scholars and students of the history and ethics of Archaeology, Jerusalem, conservation, nationalism, and heritage. 

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Journey to East Jerusalem – An Introduction

Chapter 2: Antiquities in the Toilettes – The Strauss Building

Chapter 3: Wild Western Wall Tunnels – The Davidson Centre and the Archaeological Park

Chapter 4: A Museum for Jewish Prayer in a Mamluk Bathhouse – The Ohel Yizthak Synagogue

Chapter 5: An Archaeological Site with Depth – The Ha-Liba Building

Chapter 6: Throwing Dust in the Eyes – The Comprehensive Plan for the Western Wall Plaza

Chapter 7: Lingua Orientalis Hierosolimitanae

Chapter 8: Pilegsh at Givati – Little Tel Aviv in East Jerusalem

Chapter 9: The Ethics of East Jerusalem

Chapter 10: Conclusions

Appendix: The Documents


Indices (A. Places; B. Persons)



Raz Kletter completed his PhD in 1995 at Tel Aviv University, Israel, on material culture and borders of Iron Age Judah. Following a post-doctoral year at the University of Oxford, UK, he worked in the Israel Antiquities Authority as Deputy of Finds Department, Senior Archaeologist, and Head of the Scientific Processing Unit. Dr. Kletter participated, directed, and published excavations from varied periods and sites in Israel/Palestine. Since 2008 he is Docent for Near-Eastern Archaeology at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and member of the Centres of Excellence "Changes in Sacred texts and Traditions" (CSTT) and "Ancient Near Eastern Empires" (ANEE). Dr. Kletter’s main fields of study are Near Eastern Archaeology (Bronze and Iron Ages), religion and cult, ancient economy, archaeological theory, and history of archaeology in Israel/Palestine. He has published extensively in these fields.


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