BAR 27:04, Jul/Aug 2001
Computerized Exhibit Opens at Foot of Ancient Site
Visitors to Jerusalem can now take a virtual tour of the Temple Mount as it appeared during the Herodian period (first centuries B.C. and A.D.), and they can do it in the shadow of the real Temple Mount. But the Ethan and Miriam Davidson Exhibition and Virtual Reconstruction Center was criticized by some Palestinians immediately after its opening on April 17, who claimed the center seeks to write them out of Jerusalems history.
The Virtual Reconstruction Center is located in the early-Islamic-period (seventh and eighth centuries A.D.) Umayyad Palace complex at the entrance to the Jerusalem Archaeological Park near the Old Citys Dung Gate. It contains a small museum area with artifacts found in the excavations conducted near the Temple Mount by Benjamin Mazar, Ronny Reich and others; a brief video showing a modern visitor and his ancient counterpart (played by the same actor), who has brought his goat offering to the priests at the Temple; a computer simulation of the Temple Mount built by Herod the Great before it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.; and two computer workstations where visitors can surf an interactive research Web site on Jerusalems history. But you dont have to be in Jerusalem to search the site; simply go to www.archpark.org.il.