Benshoof Cistern Museum

Useful Information

Location: In the courtyard of St George’s College in Jerusalem.
(31.787651, 35.229030)
Open: All year Tue-Sat 8-14.
Fee: free.
Classification: SubterraneaCistern
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided, D=30 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Daniel M. Master, John M. Monson, Egon H. E. Lass, George A. Pierce (2005): Dothan I: Remains from the Tell (1953-1964), Eisenbrauns (June 30, 2005), ISBN-13: 978-1575061153, ISBN-10: 1575061155.
D. Lyles Meek (1996): A Cistern Museum in the Holy City, Anglican World Journal, 1996 Lent, Issue 81, p 19.
Address: St George's College Jerusalem, P.O. Box 1248, 33 Salah El Deen Street, Jerusalem 91000, Tel: +972-2-626-4704. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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6th century cistern built.
1953-1964 excavations at Tel Dothan by Dr Joseph P. Free.
1980s cistern discovered during the renovation of St. George's College.
05-JAN-1996 museum opened to the public.


The Benshoof Cistern Museum was named after Edward and Barbara Benshoof, who made it possible with a generous gift. It is located in an ancient water cistern in the courtyard of the Anglican St George’s College at St George's Cathedral in Jerusalem. The cistern dates from the late Roman or early Byzantine period.

The museum is dedicated to the excavations at Tel Dothan by Dr Joseph P. Free. Between 1953 and 1964 he excavated three tombs and found a large number of pottery vessels. Tel Dothan is located on the south side of the Dothan Valley, strategically situated along an ancient highway connecting the hill country of Manasseh with the Jezreel valley. The oldest ruins date to the Middle Bronze Period (2300–1550 BCE). It was destructed by the Assyrians either during the conquest of Galilee by Tiglath-pileser III in 732 BC (2 Kings 15:29), or during the fall of Samaria ten years later in 722 BC (2 Kings 18:10).

The museum displays ceramic vessels arranged by the type or form. There is a great diversity and variety of forms like lamps, goblets, craters, bowls, pyxides, etc. The museum is a valuable research collection for scholars and students of the college. The majority of the pieces are from Tomb 1. The single-chambered cave burial contained remains from 250–300 Canaanite burials between 1400 BC and 1200 BC.