The archaeological archive of Israel, which is administered by the Israel
Antiquities Authority and amasses data on all of the activity of the
archeological entities in the country, is being computerized and will go online
in the coming days. This is being underwritten with joint funding provided by
the Landmarks heritage program in the Prime Minister's Office and the Israel
Antiquities Authority. The scientific archive has its beginnings in the British
Mandatory Department of Antiquities. It was continued by the Israel Department
of Antiquities and is managed today by the Israel Antiquities Authority, which
invests considerable thought and resources in its operation.
The first stage, containing tens of thousands of documents, photographs, maps
and plans from the years 1919-1948 from Akko and Jerusalem, is already available for viewing
online. Most of this material was written in English.
Uploading the old and valuable material to the website required special
preparations. In order to scan the material, the Israel Antiquities Authority
engaged the services of ImageStore Systems Ltd. This is because the archival
material is especially delicate and sensitive and cannot be scanned with
industrial equipment; rather it can only be done individually and manually. The
documents in the archive include texts photographs, maps, and plans etc. on many
different kinds of paper.
According to Israel Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hausner and Reuven Pinsky, director
of the heritage project in the Prime Minister's Office: "The Mandatory archive
constitutes the principal foundation of archaeological research of the past one
hundred years. This program, as part of the Israel Archives Network project for
scanning and digitalization of the material on file in the archives, will make
it possible for the public in general and particularly scholars in Israel and
abroad to access these resources of knowledge."
According to Dr. Uzi Dahari, Deputy Director of the Israel Antiquities
Authority, "The scientific importance of the archive is invaluable, and it is
the only one of its kind in Israel and in the world. In Israel there are
approximately 30,000 known and declared antiquities sites that constitute our
cultural heritage - the largest and most important asset of the State of
Israel. The Israel Antiquities Authority declares, treats, surveys, and
researches the antiquities sites in the country. One of the many activities of
the Israel Antiquities Authority is the management and running of the scientific
archive. The Israel Antiquities Authority decided to transfer the archive to the
digitalized media, in order to disseminate the information throughout the world.
To this end, all of the information was scanned and it was indexed according to
rules that are suitable for research needs."