The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA, Hebrew: רשות העתיקות rashut ha-'atiqot; Arabic: داﺌرة الآثار, before 1990, the Israel Department of Antiquities) is an independent Israeli governmental authority responsible for enforcing the 1978 Law of Antiquities. The IAA regulates excavation and conservation, and promotes research. The Director-General is Mr. Eli Escusido, and its offices are housed in the Rockefeller Museum.
The Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums (IDAM) of the Ministry of Education was founded on July 26, 1948, after the establishment of the State of Israel. It took over the functions of the Department of Antiquities of the British Mandate in Israel and Palestine. Originally, its activities were based on the British Mandate Department of Antiquities ordinances.
IDAM was the statutory authority responsible for Israel's antiquities and for the administration of small museums. Its functions include curation of the state collection of antiquities, storing of the state collection, maintaining a list of registered antiquities sites, inspecting antiquities sites and registering newly discovered sites, conducting salvage and rescue operations of endangered antiquities sites, maintaining an archaeological library (the state library), maintaining an archive.
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) was created from the IDAM by the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in a 1990 statute. Amir Drori became its first director. The IAA fulfilled the statutory obligations of the IDAM and in its early days was greatly expanded from the core number of workers in IDAM to a much larger complement, and to include the functions of the Archaeological Survey of Israel. The period of expansion lasted for a number of years, but was followed by a period in which diminished fiscal resources and a reduction in funding led to large cutbacks in the size of its work force and its activities.
It published the results of excavations in three journals:
- Booklet of the Department of Antiquities (Hebrew), now defunct
- IAA Reports monograph series, started in the late 1990s (English)
- Atiqot (Hebrew and English), still published
- Hadashot Arkheologiyot – Excavations and Surveys in Israel (HA-ESI; Hebrew and English), still published, online.
- Qadmoniot: A Journal for the Antiquities of Eretz-Israel and Bible (Hebrew), published by Israel Exploration Society together with the IAA.
- Archaeological Survey of Israel. A GIS database of tiled maps covering 10 square kilometres (3.9 sq mi) of the State of Israel. Descriptive texts and media of surveyed sites. A continuous project, published online only (previously in print).
The National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel
The Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel is the future building of the IAA, aiming to concentrate all centralized administrative offices into one structure. The campus is planned on 20,000 square meters between the Israel Museum and the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem by Architect Moshe Safdie.
The IAA's organization consists of:
- Deputy Director for Archaeology
- IAA Regional Offices (Northern Region, Central Region, Jerusalem Region, Southern Region and maritime archaeology Unit)
- Excavations and Surveys Department
- Artifacts Treatment Department
- Conservation Department
- National Treasures Department
- Information Technology Department
- Publications Department
- Antiquities Robbery Prevention Unit
- Archives Department
- IAA Internet Sites Unit
- Finance Administration
- Planning, Coordination and Control Administration
- Administrative and Security Services Branch
- Staff Officer for Archaeology – Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria
- Shmuel Yeivin, 1948–1961
- Avraham Biran, 1961–1974
- Avraham Eitan, 1974–1988
- Amir Drori, 1988–2000
- Yehoshua (Shuka) Dorfman, 2000–July 31, 2014
- Yisrael Hasson, 2014–2020
- Eli Escusido he 2021-
- Levi Rahmani, archeologist and Chief Curator during the 1980s
The IAA's six-member restoration team restores potsherds, textiles, metal objects and other objects related to the material culture of the country discovered in archaeological excavations. Unlike their peers around the world, the team in Israel is barred by Israeli law from working with human remains.
- Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel, preserves sites from 1700 onwards not covered by the Antiquities Law
- Hecht, Esther (9 June 2014). "Digging for The Past and Future". Architectural Record. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
- Qadmoniot on homepage of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Accessed 17 July 2021
- Hebrew and English database, occasionally English translations
- "The Mandel National Library and National Archives for the Archaeology of Israel to be part of the new Israel Antiquities Authority Campus in Jerusalem". Israel Antiquities Authority. Israel Antiquities Authority. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
- Antiquities.org.il IAA > Organizational Structure. Retrieved 2011-08-28.
- Hasson, Nir (August 26, 2010). "A Behind-the-scenes Look at the Restoration of Israel's Antiquities". Haaretz. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
- Official website
- Eisenbrauns - Official distributor for IAA publications in North America
- The Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel on the Israel Antiquities Authority website.