The collection of the Department of Old Testament and Biblical Archeology of the Faculty of Protestant Theology was founded around 15 years ago and, thanks to the endowment of the private collections of Prof. Volkmar Fritz, Prof. Dr. Otto Kaiser and loans from other private individuals, now has one of the largest Palestine ceramic collections in Germany. The collection of largely complete ceramic vessels is supplemented by some of the diagnostic ceramics unearthed during the excavations in Hirbet El-Mšāš el-Milḥ. Against the background of today's ban on exporting ceramics from Israel, the Mainz Ceramics Collection is an excellent opportunity to offer young German scientists a practice-oriented approach to this material as part of teaching.
Another treasure in the collection are seven ossuaries from the New Testament period. This means that Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz is in possession of what is probably the largest ossuary collection in Europe, which offers deeper insights into the burial culture of Palestine in the 1st century AD .
In addition to these ancient artifacts, landscape archeological research in Mainz benefits from historical maps of Palestine such as “Survey of Western Palestine” and the German military maps from 1914-1918, as well as numerous more recent maps.
Also highly relevant in terms of cultural history are the approximately 900 glass plate slides curated at the Department for Old Testament and Biblical Archeology, which are now digitally recorded, and which provide vivid insights into the period between 1910 and 1914 and the 1920s in the corpus of the Friedrich Jeremias Collection. This is supplemented by almost 50,000 digitally recorded images from the Benedikt Schwank Collection, which cover the period since the founding of the State of Israel.
The Department has the largest collection of models of biblical life after the collections on regional studies of Palestine at the Gustaf Dalman Institute in Greifswald.
With these focal areas, the Biblical-Archeological Collection at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz sees itself as a teaching collection with great potential for research and, in this sense, tries to keep the artifacts preserved here didactically accessible for teaching and science.