The Mount Gerizim Archaeological Park is Reopened, After 12 Years

Via Joseph Lauer, both the Youtube link and the press report below-

The archaeological excavation site on Mount Gerizim, near Shechem, was officially inaugurated in a special ceremony on Thursday. The ceremony was attended by Environment Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud), Shomon Regional Council head Gershon Mesika, the head of the Nature and Parks Authority Shaul Goldstein, and the Head of the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria, Brig. Gen. Moti Almoz. Mount Gerizim and nearby Mount Eival are named in the Pentateuch as the place where the Priests and Levites addressed the tribes entering Israel after their sojourn in the desert, blessing them at Mount Gerizim if they kept G-d’s commandments and elucidating the punishments they would receive at Mount Eival if they did not. Mount Gerizim is also an important place for the Samaritans, who believe that the preeminent holy spot is on the mountain and whose Temple was built there. Mount Gerizim was excavated for more than 24 years and Thursday’s ceremony marked the archaeological site’s reopening after being closed for 12 years since the start of the Oslo War, also known as the Second Intifada.

Amazingly the Samaritan Temple receives little more than passing mention and the history of the Jews is highlighted nearly to the Samaritan’s exclusion in the video. A truly appalling rewriting of history from a more than biased perspective.

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10 thoughts on “The Mount Gerizim Archaeological Park is Reopened, After 12 Years

  1. Niels Peter Lemche 6 Jul 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Security is very discrete in Israel. Never seen an opening of an archaeological site with so many guns. Are the Israeli annexing this obviously Samaritan site?



    • Jim 6 Jul 2012 at 4:00 pm

      the video makes it sound like the samaritans simply built a temple and that was pretty much it….


  2. Niels Peter Lemche 6 Jul 2012 at 4:26 pm

    and we now know that there was a major city attached to this temple


    • Jim 6 Jul 2012 at 4:27 pm

      certainly wouldn’t learn that from the video.


  3. Robert Deutsch 7 Jul 2012 at 12:52 am

    Very soon the Palestinian Authority will demand all the finds excavated and looted in Judaea and Samaria and it will be not a big problem for them to provide the inventory, which are presented in the excavation reports. The Israel Antiquities Authority has to prepare itself and recall all the items from the Israel Museum. Archaeologists, Historians and Bible scholars from most of the European capitals will take side, and I can guess which side. We remember, with sadness, the Israelite Kuntillet Ajrud material “returned” to the Egyptians. They will never see the light of the sun again.


  4. Niels Peter Lemche 7 Jul 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Dear Robert,

    But it is really a Samaritan site, but I couldn’t see any Samaritan at the opening. Maybe they were there but were overlooked.

    Otherwise, I doubt that we disagree a lot about giving back. Then of course, Turkey has to send the Siloam inscription back together with the Gezer calender, Germany the Pergamon Altar to Turkey, we have to empty all the art museums in Europe and the US–remember from childhood a visit to Certosa di Firenze where the guiding monk to tell exactly where the painting originally on the walls there were in the Louvre; Napoleon’s soldiers took them with them to France. The British emptied Spain. From London we have the issue about the Elgin marbles etc etc etc.

    The primary concern is the safety of the artifacts. Bringing them back to their original “home” is part of modern nationalistic jingoism.

    And you forgot the DSS to Jordan or to the Palestinans. Just now I am wondering when a crazy Syrian general shoots Crac de Chevaliers to pieces. I suppose I will call the present state of these artifacts “risk-speading”.


  5. Yigal Levin 7 Jul 2012 at 2:39 pm

    If you actually look at the original news report that Joe Lauer quoted, you would see several Samaritans there. One of the reasons that the site was closed for so long was a dispute between the Israeli Shomron regional council, the Samaritan community and the PA about the operation of the site. The news report did not mention how this was resolved.
    As far as “re-writing” history, the report is from a right-wing religious Israeli news site, and so not unexpected. Please remember that everything we know about the site, archaeologically speaking, is a result of the excavations carried out by Yitzhak Magen, while he was serving as IDF staff officer for archaeology. In other words, the excavations were actually conducted by the Israeli military! (Of course not by soldiers, but under their auspices.) But I don’t hear anyone accusing them of “re-writing” history or hiding the Samaritan past. While there has been a lot of criticism of Magen, it has not been about his academic integrity.


    • Jim 7 Jul 2012 at 2:44 pm

      I didn’t see any Samaritans in the video report and again the memtion of the Samsritans was merely a passing comment.


  6. Shmuel Browns 12 Jul 2012 at 10:14 am

    Having heard the news that the site was now open I went up to check it out. They’re still working on getting the site ready for visitors. It’s clear from the excavations that there was a city around the sacred precinct. It’s clear that the site is holy to the Samaritans, Everlasting Hill, 12 Stones, the altar of Isaac. The most striking thing is the ruins of Byzantine octagonal Martyrium surrounded by a wall (to protect it). I think it’s great that Israel has made the site accessible to all under the supervision the Parks Authority (that looks after archaeological sites).
    You can read about my experience (with photos) at


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