Measuring and Weighing in Ancient Times
Curator: Ofra Rimon

The exhibition encompasses various fields dealing with the subject of measurement: time, volume, width, and length.
Ancient sundials represent the measurement of time, and inscriptions on archaeological finds represent ancient calendars and methods of counting the years. Measuring volume was the most frequent measurement in commercial transactions. Weighing was devoted to special goods, such as spices and medicines, as well as precious metals that served as means of payment. Containers represent the measuring of volume, both dry and liquid; inscriptions testify to volumetric units.
One of the most interesting finds representing the field of length measurement, is an iron rod from the Byzantine period that was discovered in the town of Shlomi, on Israel's northern border. The rod served as a unit of measure of land for tax purposes; its length is 2.59 meters, representing 5 Roman cubits according to the standard used in the Levant and in Egypt.
The subject of weighing is represented by various types of scales and by a rich selection of weights that were used in Eretz-Israel and neighboring cultures from ancient periods till the Early Islamic period. Because in our own times we are witness to a slow transition involving not a few difficulties, from the Ottoman weighing system to the metric weighing system, we have chosen to integrate this subject, too, into the exhibition. By relating to the issue of the transition to the metric system in Eretz-Israel, we are closing a circle that began to be circumscribed some thousands of years ago with weighing systems that were customary among peoples and cultures in our region.
Since the uncovering of the remains of ancient construction lies at the focus of archaeological fieldwork, a special section of the exhibition is devoted to measuring in ancient architecture. Measuring in the archaeologist's fieldwork is of prime importance, as it enables the documentation of finds and constitutes a basis for the scientific publication of excavations.
Accordingly we decided to integrate this field, too, into the exhibition, thereby permitting the visitor to come into contact with the various aspects of measuring that form part of the work of the archaeologist.