The PEF was founded in 1865 and is the oldest organization in the world created specifically for the study of the Levant, the southern portion of which was conventionally known as ‘Palestine’.
The PEF's home in Hinde Mews includes an impressive reference library and displays of our collections. By joining us, you can gain access to these resources and the knowledge of our members. Join today!
The PEF was founded in 1865 and is the oldest organization in the world created specifically for the study of the Levant, the southern portion of which was conventionally known as ‘Palestine’. The PEF is a major bridge and information resource for the public and academic community.
It publishes an internationally respected journal, the Palestine Exploration Quarterly, and brings the latest archaeological results and research to the public in a series of regular lectures. The PEF promotes ongoing research through annual grants to scholars across the world.
The PEF archives hold over 40,000 photographs of Palestine, Jordan and Syria taken from 1850 onwards. The PEF collections also include archaeological artefacts, natural history specimens, maps, manuscripts, and paintings. Our unparalleled library attracts scholars from around the world. These facilities are available to our members for research, study, and publication purposes.
An earlier version of the PEF website can still be accessed at http://www.pef.org.uk/oldsite
Lectures notice: Please note that from March 2011, due to rescheduling arrangements at the British Museum, the PEF lectures at the British Museum will start at 4pm (replacing the prior 6pm start time). We apologise for any inconvenience. Please go to our lectures pages for further details.
Current office hours for visits and enquiries
Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays: 10.30am to 4.00pm
Tuesdays: 10.30am to 5.30pm
Fridays: 10.30am to 1.00pm
If you would like to visit the PEF, please make an appointment in advance by contacting Felicity Cobbing at firstname.lastname@example.org
Christmas and New Year
Closed on the 14th Dec.
Open 10 to 2pm 17th – 21st Dec
From the 24th Dec to the 7th Jan inclusive
Re open on 8th Jan
Disclaimer: The articles and illustrations appearing on the PEF’s website are sanctioned for use on this website only. Any use of such material by an outside party must receive permission from the PEF and the author in question.
The Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF) was founded under the royal patronage of Queen Victoria in 1865 by a group of distinguished academics and clergymen, most notably the Dean of Westminster Abbey, Arthur Stanley, and Sir George Grove.
The original mission statement of the PEF was to promote research into the archaeology and history, manners and customs and culture, topography, geology and natural sciences of biblical Palestine and the Levant. The PEF now has a history rich in association with many of the outstanding names of Levantine exploration including:
The term 'Palestine' is a widely-attested Western and Near Eastern conventional name for the region that includes contemporary Israel, the Israeli-occupied territories, part of Jordan, and some of both Lebanon and Syria. Its traditional area runs from Sidon on the coast, to Damascus inland, southwards to the Gulf of Aqaba, and then north-west to Raphia.
The Sinai Desert is usually considered a separate geographical zone to the south. 'Palestine' is first attested in extant literature in the 5th cent. BC, when it appears in the Histories of Herodotus (Hist. 2: 104, etc.) as Palaistinê. It seems to have its origins in the root form p-l-s-t , denoting the land of the Philistines, though it has generally in Western usage referred to a much wider region than coastal Philistia, including the area that is known in Biblical, Rabbinic and Samaritan literature as the Land of Israel (Eretz-Yisra'el) or ancient Canaan. The term 'Palestine' has over many centuries retained its relevance as an apolitical geographical term regardless of the nation-states and administrative entities that have existed in this region. It has no political associations when used by the Palestine Exploration Fund.
The Palestine Exploration Fund, 2 Hinde Mews, Marylebone Lane, London, W1U 2AA
Tel: +44 (0)20 7935 5379 | Fax: +44 (0)20 7486 7438 | Email: ExecSec@PEF.org.uk
Registered company: 13606 | Registered charity: 212538