The Secret History of Tel Aviv

20,000 years of hidden sights


Tel Aviv is celebrating one hundred years since the founding of the city. The photograph which documents the ceremony of casting lots for "Ahuzat Bayit" at Jabali Vineyard was randomly caught in the eye of Abraham Soskin's camera on April 11, 1909, yet it is this photograph which contributed to the choice of that date as the founding moment of the city. The photo, in which a group of people are standing on the sand dunes, suits the image of Tel Aviv as a city whose houses sprouted from the white, desolate sands, seemingly creating something out of nothing.  
Could this be a true picture? Or could there be another "tel" (mound) in Tel Aviv ? Are there strata which are hidden from the eye? What preceded the first Hebrew city, and who were the people who lived there in the past, on the same "sandy" and "desolate" piece of land?
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Tel Aviv, the Eretz Israel Museum has chosen to invite the city's citizens and the general public to a journey back in time, to the city's distant history and the scores of archaeological sites which have been discovered under the houses of Tel Aviv - a testament to 20,000 years of human existence, from pre-historic times up to the final years of Ottoman rule, leading to the eve of the founding of the city.
Five thousand- year-old Jaffa, the point of departure for modern Tel Aviv, was the most important city in the region throughout most of the ancient era. Extensive research which has taken place in Jaffa during the last decade has revealed findings worthy of a large exhibition of its own. This exhibition, therefore, focuses on the municipal site of Tel Aviv only, which was, for most of the historical period, the remote backland of the Jaffa settlement.
The archeological sites which have been discovered under Tel Aviv houses are likened to a secret because they are hidden from the eye. Even when they are slowly being uncovered, layer by layer in archaeological excavations, they are not engraved in the memories of the city's population.



Nitza Bashkin Yosef

Opens: February 10

Closes: February 28, 2010