Israel's Good Name

Hecht Museum

In Haifa, Israel on November 20, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Last week I was in Haifa on Army business. Once I finished with what I needed to do at the Army office I had plenty of time to explore Haifa. My mother suggested that I go to the free Hecht Museum in Haifa University. I agreed and hopped on a bus that slowly meandered its way up Mount Carmel and into the University. I got off the bus and called the museum for precise directions. I eventually found it.

Hecht Museum entrance sign

Once inside I browsed around finding several different sections. The first I visited was one of archaeological finds of the many groups that settled both within the Land of Israel and the surrounding area. The Egyptians, the Phoenicians and the Canaanite tribes were heavily portrayed.

The area dedicated towards local archaelogy and the Egyptians

There was an area that blended into the times of King David and his son Solomon and their business dealings with the Phoenician city of Tyre. Tyre had a monopoly on a purple dye that they discovered and introduced to the world, keeping the “recipe” a secret. When King Solomon built the First Temple the Phoenician’s purple dyed wool was used. Here we see that the more base parts of human life were taken care of in this find from the City of David, Jerusalem:

Toilet found in the City of David

The museum also had extensive displays on hunting in “ancient” times and a site breakdown of a camp someone found on the banks of the Kinneret where a group of people hunted and fished and buried their dead. I was a little weirded out to see two coffins of dog skeletons in clay coffins… But at least it wasn’t a human on display. There was another section on the Conquest of the Galilee where the Jews were being forced into an area of Israel between modern-day Maalot (where I live) and just on the other side of the Kinneret. The Romans were slowly taking over the land irregardless of the bravery of Bar Kochba and his defence.

A stone marker that attests to the presence of the Roman 6th Legion

Remains of metal scale armour probably used by a Roman soldier

As the  Romans had a lot to do with Jerusalem’s history there were tons of Roman and Roman-inspired archeaological finds in the special Jerusalem section. But during the dark Roman era there was a glimmer of light — Herod and his rebuilding of the Temple. This was a chunk of a door or something that was carved specially for Herod’s Jerusalem:

Herodian chunk of carved stone

Near the Jerusalem section there were ancient toys, tools and instruments including gold leaf jewelry. This is a mirror made of copper that when polished well was used by the women of old:

Ancient copper mirror now crusted over

Through a doorway I found another, slighty different archeaological display. A Phoenician boat was found off the coast of Akko and resurfaced. The wood was preserved by layers of sand and the ballast stones that spilled out of the cargo. Very carefully the ancient ship was restored and rebuilt to the best they were able and now it sits high up on Mount Carmel looking out north towards what was once Phoenicia.

Phoenician boat skeleton

The museum also features an art gallery with a special section of art painted by artists who passed away in the Holocaust. All in all the museum was quite informative and best of all, it was free so feel free to go there too…

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