1st Edition

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

By Raz Kletter Copyright 2020
    364 Pages
    by Routledge

    362 Pages
    by Routledge

    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. 

    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.