Established in 1990, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) is the national authority responsible for Israel’s archaeological activities, antiquity sites, and national treasures.

Its history, however, goes back to 1948. With the formation of the State of Israel, the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums (IDAM) took over the functions of the British Mandate Department of Antiquities in 1948. The IDAM’s activities were originally based on the British Mandate Department of Antiquities ordinances and the organization was the statutory authority responsible for Israel's antiquities and for the administration of small museums. Its functions included curation of the state collection of antiquities, storing of the state collection, maintaining a list of registered antiquities sites, inspecting antiquities sites and registering newly discovered sites, conducting salvage and rescue operations of endangered antiquities sites, maintaining an archaeological library (the state library), maintaining an archive.

IDAM published the results of excavations in three journals: Booklet of the Department of Antiquities Hebrew, now defunct, Atiqot [Hebrew and English], still published, and Hadashot Arkheologiyot [Hebrew and English], still published, online. IDAM also funded and managed the Archaeological Survey of Israel and published the results of its work in maps covering 10 km² of the State of Israel.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) was created from the IDAM by the Knesset in a 1990 statute. Amir Drori became its first director. The IAA fulfilled the statutory obligations of the IDAM and in its early days was greatly expanded from the core number of workers in IDAM to a much larger complement and to include the functions of the Archaeological Survey of Israel.

The Israel Antiquities Authority strives to increase public awareness and interest in the country's archaeological heritage through educational activities and through the preservation, conservation and study at the highest scientific level.

The IAA operates in accordance with the State of Israel's Law of Antiquities (1978) and the Antiquities Authority Law (1989).

For more information about the IAA, please visit http://www.antiquities.org.il.

IAA Director Generals
Shmuel Yeivin, 1948–1961
Avraham Biran, 1961–1974
Avraham Eitan, 1974–1988
Amir Drori, 1988–2000
Yehoshua (Shuka) Dorfman, 2000–2014
Yisrael Hasson, 2014–


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