Dialogue and Coexistence in Israel Through AIA Site Preservation
April 22, 2011

Lod Community Archaeology Program
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BOSTONApril 20, 2011—The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) announced today that it will award a Site Preservation Grant to the Lod Community Archaeology Program in Israel.  The program, co-directed by Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University and Hebrew Union College and Taufic Dea’dle, brings Arab and Jewish residents closer to the history of Lod as it raises awareness of the importance of preserving the city’s heritage; strengthens relationships of residents to the town by creating an enhanced sense of belonging; and involves Jewish and Arab students in joint initiatives that encourage dialogue and coexistence.

The program, for elementary school students throughout the city, is run by the Karev Foundation and offers weekly archaeology enrichment lessons; presents staff development training in archaeology for teachers; holds special day-long events focused on archaeology at participating schools; organizes field trips to Lod’s Old City; offers joint encounters for participating schools where Jewish and Arab children learn together; and, at the end of the year, provides hundreds of children with the opportunity to excavate at Khān el-Hillū, one of only ten remaining pre-1952 buildings in Lod.

Recently, Khān el-Hillū, an ancient roadside inn, failed a safety inspection by Israel’s Antiquities Authority and without forthcoming emergency conservation measures, excavation will not be allowed to continue there next year.  The grant from the AIA Site Preservation Program will help fund the stabilization of the site.

The city of Lod has been continuously settled for the past 10,000 years, starting during the Neolithic period.  Once a major commercial center on the main route connecting Cairo to Damascus, the historic city was almost completely demolished in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War—today it is inhabited by an impoverished mixed Jewish-Arab population, many of whom are recent immigrants. As one of Israel’s poorest and most neglected cities, Lod has become a hub for criminal activity. Programs like the community archaeology program will help the community to reclaim the city.

About AIA Site Preservation Program and Grants

The AIA Site Preservation Program emphasizes outreach, education, and the spread of best practices in site preservation.  The Institute also supports preservation projects in Belize, Cambodia, Chile, Cyprus, Jordan, Mexico, Syria, Turkey, Peru, and the United States.  In addition to awards and grants, the program includes advocacy to stop the destruction of archaeological sites, informs U.S. Troops of cultural materials they may encounter while deployed, presents outreach activities for children, maintains online resources for the public and professionals, and hosts workshops. All aspects of the program, including the awarding of grants, are made possible through donations to the AIA Site Preservation Program.  To learn more, please visit archaeological.org/sitepreservation

About Archaeological Institute of America (AIA)

Founded in 1879, The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) is North America's oldest and largest archaeological organization.  Today, the AIA has nearly 250,000 members belonging to 109 local societies in the United States, Canada, and overseas.  The organization promotes public interest in the cultures and civilizations of the past, supports archaeological research, fosters the sound professional practice of archaeology, and advocates for the preservation of the world's archaeological heritage.  The organization hosts archaeological fairs, lectures and other events throughout North America; publishes Archaeology magazine and the American Journal of Archaeology; awards fellowships and honors; and leads global archaeological travel excursions. 

For more information and images please contact:

Meredith Anderson, AIA Site Preservation Program Coordinator—manderson@aia.bu.edu 617-358-6098

Ben Thomas, AIA Director of Programs—bthomas@aia.bu.edu  617-353-8708

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