RAMALLAH, July 24 (JMCC) - Palestinian archeologists, with the help of Dutch counterparts and the UN, are planning to open an archeological park in the heart of Nablus next year.
The park will allow visitors to view an archeological dig that exposes the history of Shekhem, an important trade center 3,500 years ago, reports the
Working on an urban lot that long served residents of Nablus as an unofficial dump for garbage and old car parts, Dutch and Palestinian archaeologists are learning more about the ancient city of Shekhem, and are preparing to open the site to the public as an archaeological park next year.
The project, carried out under the auspices of the Palestinian Department of Antiquities, also aims to introduce the Palestinians of Nablus, who have been beset for much of the past decade by bloodshed and isolation, to the wealth of antiquities in the middle of their city.
The local population has started very well to understand the value of the site, not only the historical value, but also the value for their own identity, said Gerrit van der Kooij of Leiden University in the Netherlands, who co-directs the dig team.
The local people have to feel responsible for the archaeological heritage in their neighborhood, he said.
The digging season wrapped up this week at the site, known locally as Tel Balata.