Until your hands encircle wet clay on a foot-turned wheel, until you spin sheep’s wool into thread and throw a shuttle through the warp of a loom, you can’t really understand what life was like on a typical farm in ancient Israel. In fact, to really understand how people lived, it is necessary to participate in an entire cycle—from gathering raw materials to creating a finished product. That’s the philosophy behind the Living Museum, now in full swing at Ein Yael.

Besides offering educational experiences to visitors, Ein Yael is a laboratory where researchers from throughout the world may come to recreate tools of the past and to test their theories of how they were used.

The focus is on ancient technologies, such as weaving, building, pottery-making, agriculture, mosaic-making, basketry, bread-making and wine-making. Workshops on these are already in progress at the site. Other workshops in bronze casting, glassblowing and metallurgy may also be undertaken at Ein Yael. Instructors in the ancient crafts come from Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Art and from the Society for the Preservation of Nature. Their students start from scratch by digging clay from the ground, for example, as the first step in making a pottery vessel.

Ein Yael also invites volunteers to participate in ongoing experimentation with ancient technologies. Volunteers are invited for a minimum period of two weeks. For additional information about volunteering, contact: Gershon Edelstein, Ein Yael Project, Israel Antiquities Authority, P.O. Box 586, Jerusalem 91911, Israel.

To learn about seminars and special programs at the Living Museum, contact Gershon Edelstein at the above address (phone in Israel: 02–638-421/2/3, or 02864–488. It is open only by appointment.