Room VIII. Antiquities of the Ancient Near East

Room VIII is dedicated to archaeological materials from Mesopotamia and pre-classical Syria-Palestine (third to second millennium B.C.).
One of the most significant groups is made up of antiquities from the Holy Land, which entered the Department in the 1960s following exchanges and relations between the Vatican Museums and the religious institutes that operated in the area.
Of particular interest is the collection of antiquities of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, permanently deposited in the Vatican Museums since 1982, which included important artefacts from both Egypt and the Near East, and from Etruscan, Roman and Islamic contexts.
In addition, interesting objects from the necropolis of Jericho have been donated by the Museum of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum of Jerusalem.
Both of these Institutes have carried out important work in protecting and recovering Palestinian antiquities, threatened during the last century by illegal excavations and the looting of archaeological sites.
The Palestinian material now part of the Department of Egyptian and Near Eastern Antiquities constitutes a chronologically and typologically homogeneous group. It consists of ceramic vessels and metal weapons from six clearly identifiable IV Ancient Bronze Age tombs.
The collection of cuneiform seals and tablets from Mesopotamia, again part of the rich collection of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, is particularly important.
Two fragments of the Qumran Cave Scrolls (Dead Sea Scrolls), more recently acquired from the collection of Msgr. Salvatore Garofalo, are displayed in the semicircular display case.