From the Desk of the Chair of the Israel Antiquities Authority Board
Prof. Joshua Schwartz

The first Hebrew weekly newspaper, Ha-Magid, while relating to the increasing interest of the Jewish public in newly discovered archaeological findings, announced enthusiastically: “We live in a miraculous generation” (Ha-Magid, May 7, 1858). Although this description was somewhat exaggerated then, we have come a long way since that time and are much closer today to the reality that Ha-Magid had hoped for.

We have seen a growing interest in archaeological activities, both by the public and in academic circles, as well as an increase in the number of archaeologists, increased budgets, better management of excavations and surveys, technological advances, accessibility of sites and much more. Perhaps not a “miraculous” generation yet, but a huge step towards arriving at that goal.

Archaeology—stone heaps and potsherds—reveals the secrets of our past. It helps us understand who we are and especially, what we are and how that came to be.

The Israel Antiquities Authority Board supervises the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Its missions are few, but of great importance. The Board determines the overall policy of the IAA, outlines its duties and approves its budget. It oversees the execution of the IAA policy, projects and budget, and reviews its financial records, submitted by the General Director.

The Israel Antiquities Authority Board is comprised of sixteen members, including government representatives from various ministries, university representatives from archaeological fields, heads of municipal councils and a museum director.

Although most of the Board’s tasks are technical, they are crucial for the operation of the IAA. The Board sets the general guidelines for the IAA, approves its activities and supervises it.

I made Aliyah to Israel in September 1974. If someone had told me then that I would have any contact at all with the Israel Antiquities Authority (at that time called the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums), and would become Chairman of its Board, I would have responded in disbelief. Who was I to realize such an important position?

I am privileged to be part of this important enterprise and undertaking, to work with the members of the IAA Board and the IAA staff - archaeologists, administrators, and support staff - all devoting tremendous time and energy to pursue their tasks with great dedication and efficiency, to bring the past closer to the present as a basis for building our future in our land.


Prof. Joshua Schwartz
Chair of the Israel Antiquities Authority Board