The New York Times has written that a collection of artifacts from Jordan on loan to the Siegfried H. Horn Museum on the campus of Andrews University is a coup for the museum. The Times’ report indicates that 48 fragments of ceramic figures of humans and horses, possibly religious in nature, will be housed in the Horn Museum for a year. The relics from the 8th to the 6th century B.C. were extracted from sites in Tall Jalul, Jordan over more than a decade, ending in 2012. According to the report, the sharing of artifacts like these is increasingly uncommon.
In recent decades, countries that house remains of the ancient world have become determined to keep archaeological finds within their borders. Partly as a result, many smaller archaeological museums at religious-affiliated schools across the United States, lacking the financial resources to buy works or borrow actively from other collections, are scrambling to increase the museums’ appeal.
According to the Sigfried Horn Museum website, the Institute of Archaeology, organized and officially approved by the Andrews University Board of Trustees in 1980 under the direction of Larry Geraty, is an umbrella organization composed of the Institute of Archaeology itself, the Siegfried H. Horn Archaeological Museum, current Archaeological Fieldwork, and the Publications Department. The institute maintains professional affiliations with the following organizations:
American Schools of Oriental Research; American Center of Oriental Research, Amman; and the William F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem; as well as other organizations. Key personnel are members of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Near Eastern Archaeological Society, the Evangelical Theological Society, the Adventist Theological Society, the Society of Adventist Religious Scholars, the American Anthropological Association.
The Times’ article points to the difficulty in procuring artifacts from the Near East.
Major obstacles stand in front of the removal of excavated objects for exhibition in the United States — even major finds shedding new light on ancient history.For example, in 2005 a dig at Tel Zayit in Israel run by the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary unearthed a stone inscribed with the earliest known specimen of the Hebrew alphabet. While the stone attracted intense interest in the world of archaeology, it remains in Israel.
Constance Clark Gane, Associate Director of the Institute of Archaeology, Curator of the Siegfried H. Horn Museum and Associate Professor of Archaeology and Old Testament at the Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, told the Times that one of the largest challenges is securing funding.
Even Andrews University, which is involved in two major digs, has a relatively small museum of six exhibition halls. While there are hopes to move the [Horn] museum to a larger space, Gane, its curator, acknowledged that getting the funding is difficult and that the school, which had always supported the digs, now faces financial pressures.
Read the full report from the New York Times: Biblical-Era Collections Suffer in a New World of Archaeology.