The Richness of Islamic Caesarea
Curators: Avner Raban, Ya'el D. Arnon and Rachel Pollak

The exhibition displays finds from digs that have been conducted in Caesarea since 1992 as part of the tourist development of the site. The range of items demonstrates the character of the material culture that existed in Caesarea in the early 11th century and its affinity to Fatimid Egypt and its capital, Fustat. Displayed, too, are pottery, glass utensils, metal items, objects of wood and ivory, candles, jewels, and more.
Caesarea, the city that King Herod founded in 10 BCE in the northwest corner of his kingdom, developed over the course of generations until it became the largest urban center in Eretz Israel. The urban settlement, which became a Roman provincial capital, was conquered for the first time in its history only in 640 CE by the commander of the armies of the first Caliph, Amr ibn al-Khattab. For the next 470 years, Caesarea continued to exist as a real city although certainly affected by the changes in regime between one Muslim dynasty and another and by Byzantine Empire raids (in the 780s and in 975).
The Hecht Museum has twice in the past mounted exhibitions devoted to archeological finds from Caesarea: "Mound and Sea" in 1986 and "Caesarea - A Commercial City by the Sea" in 1995. Those exhibitions concentrated mainly on a study of the city's ancient ports, the sea bottom and the coast, and on testimonies to the wide-ranging land and sea trade whose focus was Caesarea in the course of the Roman Byzantine era. In this exhibition, finds are displayed that describe the richness of Caesarea in the ancient Islamic period. All three exhibitions are expressions of the ties that exist between the Hecht Museum and archeological activity at the University of Haifa.