"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, from your ruins will I claim you, " sang the Psalmist, and the prophecy is fulfilled in a new exhibit of archeological revelation at the B'nai B'rith museum.
"Roots of Stone: Jerusalem Unearthed" brings together 200 artifacts turned up in the search for ancient Jewish Jerusalem over the millenium from the days of King David to the city's destruction by the Romans in 70 A.D.
"Jerusalem suffered so much. It was sacked and plundered so often that precious little remains," Anna R. Cohn, the museum curator, pointed out. "What we have is largely utilitarian, nothing fanciful, nothing spectacular like the King Tut treasures with their gold."
But the exhinit of ancient Jewish Jerusalem is spectacular in its own way - with jugs, vases, bottles, coins stone weights and other remnants from civilizations wiped out by plundering conquerers. Jerusalem was sacked more times than Billy Kilmer.
"The diggers would jokingly say: "Not another ugly Israeli pot," Cohn said in pointing to the exhibit's utilitarian storage pottery.
The artifacts were uneathed on land reclaimed by Israel after the Six-Day War of 1967. Jewish archeology has been larged unexplored amid the riches of archeological finds from great empires ofthe Near East. On land occupied after the Six-Day War, ten years ago, the Israel Exploration Society began digging for the most important archeiological sites of old Jerusalem.
The finds go back to the days of King David fand Solomon around 1000 B.C.E. (Before Common Era, a designation used instead of B.C. for Before Christ, by Jewish historians).
"The diggers had to dig down more then 30 feet through layers of stone rubble to bedrock," Cohn pointed out.
There were not the relatively clearly defined layers of civilizations that mark [WORD ILLEGIBLE] and other ancient sites. What was believed to be just more [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] to be the the wall of the first urban Jerusalem in King David's time.
There is a sense of history[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] the old jugs and vasesand jewelry against a background of blown-up photographs of the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] and maps and views of ancient Jerusalem.
And with an imaginative [WORD ILLEGIBLE] the curators have included bits and pieces of broken jars, bottles, and jewelry - the fragmentsof history that archeologists piece together.
Fom all the handles of wine jars, often with the unprint of the winery it is clear that the residents of Jerusalem enjoyed their wine during the Heiienistic period.
One of the joys of the exhibit is the collection of maps and print that reflect Jerusalem and its history throught he eyes of 16th, 17th, and 18th-century artist and scholars.
The exhibit marks 'he reopening of an expanded and redesigned museum. The opening originally scheduled for June, was delayed after the occupation of the B'nai B'rith headquarters building at 17th and Rhode Island Ave. N.W., by a band of Handfi Muslim terrorists last March.
If is the first time that such a comprehensive exhibit of archeological [WORD ILLEGIBLE] terrorists last March. t is the first time that such a comprehensive exhabit of archeological artafacts of ancient Jerusalem has been assembled outside Israel. Most of items are on loan from private collectors and museums.
The B'nai B'rith museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Saturdays, when it is closed.