Most archaeological museums group artifacts according to their place of origin, but the curators here have abandoned this method in favor of a chronological display. Exhibits cover a period of more than 6,000 years—from the prehistoric Neolithic period to that of the Byzantine Empire—and sweep geographically from Afghanistan to Sudan. Rare clay vessels, fertility idols, cylinder seals, ivories, and sarcophagi fill the soaring, naturally lighted galleries. Look for the ancient Egyptian wooden coffin, in a stunning state of preservation.
The concept of the museum is intriguing, but some have criticized its methodology. A concept was imposed on a largely preexisting collection, rather than a collection being created item by selected item to illustrate a concept. Plan on an hour to see the permanent exhibition—a guided tour will enhance the experience—and check out the interesting (and sometimes spectacular) temporary exhibitions downstairs.
25 Granot St., Jerusalem, 9370621, Israel