2008 – 2014

II 26

2008-2014

In 2009 a support association for the GPIA was founded in the Near East Museum in Berlin, while 400 guests were present. Fifty personalities from the church, scholarship, culture, business and politics signed the foundation charter. Main goal of the association is the intellectual and financial support of the GPIA. The association funds especially projects for young academics, internships, field trips, voluntary services and scholarships as well as cross-cultural projects, which bring together people of different nationalities, religions and professions at the GPIA.

Besides the establishment of series of lectures at the GPIA in Amman and Jerusalem, the focus lay on opening the excavation under the Church of the Redeemer for tourists. After four years of work, the archaeological park “Through the Ages” was solemnly opened on the 1. November 2012. 350 guests celebrated the inauguration, among them high-ranking representatives from politics and the ecumenical movement. Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Gehrke (former President of the German Archaeological Instiute) and Prof. Dr. Peter Funke (Vice-President of the German Research Foundation) held the lecture. The sustained efforts of the state Brandenburg through financial means as well as through the visits of the Minister President of Brandenburg Platzeck to Jerusalem contributed considerably to the success of the project.

14 meters below the ground floor of the Church of the Redeemer visitors can now literally walk “through the ages” and marvel at two thousand years of history. Moreover, the park gives a scientific answer to the question, whether Golgotha, shown at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, could be identical with the place of Jesus’ execution mentioned in the Gospels. A museum, a 3D-animation with multilingual explanations and light effects as well as an elaborate publication for visitors complete the offer of the archaeological park.

Starting with 2012 the insights from the 18 campaigns at Tall Zira’a and Wadi al-‘Arab were processed and published as part of the “Gadara Region Project”.

In 2013 Dr. Frauke Kenkel took over as head of the Institute in Amman.

In 2014 preparations for another new research project of the GPIA started: The search for the “Second Wall”, the city wall from the time of Jesus Christ. Prof. Jürgen Sachs from the Institute of Technology Ilmenau came in the spring of 2014 to the excavation in Jerusalem to make tests below the Church of the Redeemer and investigate the possibilities of geophysical explorations.

Furthermore, the excavation at the Church of the Redeemer was continued in June 2014. A trinational Team of Germans, Israelis and Palestinians explored sections of the archaeological park, which have been taken off during construction. Additionally, the mosaic of the Crusader Church St. Maria Latina below the Church of the Redeemer has been restored and secured with means provided by the German Research Foundation.

Preparations also began in 2014 for the main excavations of the GPIA on the Anglican-Prussian cemetery on Mount Zion. It will be the aim of the enterprise to make the famous findings of this area – especially the so called “Essenes’ Gate” – accessible to pilgrims and tourists. The maintenance of the Anglican-German heritage on the southern Mount Zion belongs to the foremost duties of the GPIA in Jerusalem.

In September 2014 the “Workshop on the Ancient Remains beneath the Church of the Redeemer, the Muristan and its Surroundings”, organised by the GPIA, took place.