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November 23, 2014 5:29 pm

New App ‘Dig Quest: Israel’ Teaches Children About Archaeology in Israel

avatar by Tzvi Zucker / Tazpit News Agency

The Jerusalem Archaeological Park - Davidson Center. Photo: Nemo/Wikimedia Commons.

The Israeli Antiquities Authority is releasing a free app for iPhones and iPads. The app, called “Dig Quest: Israel,” is meant to help kids get a feel for what archaeologists do, and experience what it’s like to discover artifacts from the past.

The app features two simulated dig sites – a Roman period mosaic at Lod, and the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran. The spokesperson of the Israeli Antiquities Authority explained to Tazpit News Agency that “Due to the fact that the Lod Mosaic is currently making a world tour in leading museums in the U.S and in Europe, and that it is one of the most beautiful ancient works of art discovered in Israel, we thought that the mosaic will lend itself nicely to the iPhone platform …  Also, the images on the mosaic: animals, fish, ships, shapes, hunting scenes, are perfectly suitable for children …  In addition, the App will be used by children who will visit the Lod Mosaic Museum when it opens in the city of Lod.”

“The Dead Sea Scrolls were selected mainly due to the fact that they are considered to be amongst the greatest cultural heritage treasures of the country, the fact that they tell a fascinating, almost detective like story and easily translate to a puzzle game, and the fact that they are available in a digital form as part of the Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library developed by the IAA.”

The Roman dig features a fast-paced memory game, based on the animals found in the mosaic. The dig simulates the techniques archeologists use to brush away dirt to uncover mosaics.

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The dig in Qumran simulates what it was like to find and restore the Dead Sea Scrolls – what it was like to piece together fragments, puzzle style, of the Scrolls, and then to scan them using the technology that the Antiquities Authority used to be able to read the scrolls.

The app plans to add more dig sites and content, over time.

“The Israel Antiquities Authority embarked on the development of the Dig Quest: Israel App for kids as part of the overall mission of the IAA to make available and accessible to audiences around the world the archaeological treasures of Eretz Israel,” said the IAA spokesperson.

“In addition to our educational programs carried out throughout the school system, traveling exhibitions in the country and overseas, our special education and professional programs such as Conserving the Stone … the App for kids brings together an advanced e-platform and the knowledge and expertise of the IAA curators and archaeologists to attempt to reach young audiences, aged 8-12, and open to them the fascinating world of archaeology and the history of our country.”

The app is published in English, and is available for download at the iTunes Store for iPhones and iPads. An Android version will be made available soon.

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