The Friends of Antiquities (in Heb. נאמני עתיקות): The Story of an Israeli Volunteer Group and Comparative Remarks
The ‘Friends of Antiquities” were members of a unique body of volunteers, which was active in Israel for forty years, since its creation in 1948. They were nominated by the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums (IDAM), serving as its “eyes and ears” - reporting damage, safekeeping sites, assisting in excavations and maintaining the connection between IDAM and the general public. The present article is the first ever written on this body. It offers a detailed review and analysis of the creation, development and decline of the “Friends”, as well as notes about their status in relation to other amateur and professional bodies in the field of archaeology.