The Palestine Exploration Fund

Welcome to the Fund

An introduction to the Palestine Exploration Fund

  • The Palestine Exploration Fund

    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’.

  • Watercolour painting showing the underneath of Temple Mount

    Collections

    The PEF's collections include artefacts, natural history specimens, documents, maps, archival material, paintings, drawings, and photographs. This unique resource is used by researchers from around the world.

  • Conder reclining on a rock

    A rich history

    The PEF is associated with many famous historical figures, places, expeditions and events. By joining us you can gain access to this rich heritage.

  • Our facilities

    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!

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The Levant & the Middle East

About us

PEF 150th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS

In Association with the British Museum Department of Middle East

and with support of the Wellcome Trust and Maney Publishing.

The PEF will be 150 years old in 2015! This means 150 years of pioneering exploration and research, landmark publications, and popular lectures. It also means numerous articles published in our journal PEQ, and research projects which have been supported through our grants. To celebrate this achievement, we are hosting an expanded free lecture series through out the year, starting on January 15th, and a one-day conference on July 3rd at the British Museum, with a special edition of PEQ on the proceedings to follow. 

 To find out more about what's on in our Anniversary year, go to 'Forthcoming Lectures' which can be found under the 'Lectures and activities'  item on the menu bar, and then by clicking on the PEF 150th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS option.

LECTURE & EVENTS NOTICE

PEF lectures are held at 4pm at the BP Lecture Theatre, CLore Education Centre, The British Museum unless otherwise specified. All our lectures and events  are free but must be pre-booked in advance. To book your free ticket for future events, please contact the British Museum Box office on: +44 (0)20 7323 8181 or online at www.britishmuseum.org


PEF BLOG!

You can now follow and contribute our blog by  clicking on this link http://www.pef.org.uk/blog/

the blog contains features by our grant recipients, news on our archives and events, and we welcome your participation.

About the PEF

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.

The PEF constitution

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.

Excavations at Temple Mount

 

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

Current office hours for visits and enquiries
Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays: 10.30am to 4.00pm
Tuesdays: 10.30am to 5.00pm
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 execsec@pef.org.uk 

Christmas and New Year 2014-2015

We will be closed from Friday 19th December and will reopen on Monday 5th January at 10am

 

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.

History

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:

In the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, the PEF was central to the development of archaeology in the region, undertaking ambitious and well-chosen projects that significantly enhanced the knowledge of those working in the area. Its subject-base has never been limited to archaeology alone and includes natural history, anthropology, history and geography.

Key projects sponsored by the PEF included:
  • 1867-1870: Excavations in Jerusalem by Warren and Birtles
  • 1871-1878: The Survey of Western Palestine conducted by Conder and Kitchener (among others)
  • 1890-1893: Excavations at Tell el-Hesi directed by Petrie and Bliss
  • 1913-1914: The Wilderness of Zin Archaeological Survey conducted by Woolley and Lawrence.

Palestine

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