Polish Exiles in Wartime Mandate Palestine

October, 2019.  I am in the Sikorski Archives of the Polish Institute in London; archive-browsing.  Today’s mission is to see if anything can be found about a very specific activity of civilians attached to the Polish 2nd Korps, AKA the Anders Army of the Second World War, in Bethany, Mandate Palestine.   I am searching for any documents for their presence in one location in Bethany; a long shot, but at any rate, it’s an excuse to visit.  The staff is extremely helpful and provide me with their Mandate archive folios. The story that emerges from the documents before me helps further illustrate what little I already know; a story of an army refitting, training and preparing for their fateful campaign…

The Survey of Western Palestine in Context: Some thoughts from a remote intern

I once read somewhere on the vast internet that the more you learn, the more you realize you actually know very little. Throughout my journey with PEF, this was certainly the case. Though I spent hours upon hours reading different materials, I only discovered more things that I didn’t know. Part of the reason why I love learning is that I can go down different rabbit-holes and sometimes land somewhere totally unexplored. And hopefully I’m more knowledgeable and a little wiser than before as a result. The maps that I studied provided a lot of information about what the Levant region looked like in the 19th century. This week I will discuss some of the things I learned while working…

The Survey of Western Palestine and Scientific Mapping during the late 19th century.

In this day and age, scientific research is a well-respected and booming industry. The importance of this field has only been highlighted by the Covid-pandemic this year. It is often very easy to take for granted how far we’ve come in scientific research, and what steps our predecessors had to take in order to get to where we are today. For example, today, many people don’t have to worry about contracting what were once the most feared diseases in the world such as smallpox and mumps, and we all benefit from satellite gps systems on our smartphones. I took the chance in this internship to take a look into the history of cartography and surveying techniques and its significance in…

An Intern Abroad, or not really.

By Jade Dang (Student Intern, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Chapter 1: Being a long-distance intern and my introduction to the Palestine Exploration Fund Having my study abroad experience cancelled was, not going to lie, a huge disappointment. After dreaming about travelling before I started college, I had decided to delay until senior year in order to finish my required major courses so that I would not be restricted by coursework whilst away. This was a chance in a lifetime, and I did not want to mess it up. Everything was going to plan, except, that I did not expect a global pandemic this year. Upon hearing that my overseas experience to London would be cancelled for Fall…

A Lone Figure in the Distance: James Graham and 19th Century Photography in Palestine

By Alex Wosford In today’s blog, I’ve been given access to a fascinating collection of photographs of Palestine and the Levant dating from between 1853 and 1860 taken by James Graham. James Graham’s photography is immensely valuable purely for its age and quality. It provides a unique insight into the landscape of Palestine at a very early date in a series of high quality and well taken shots. The photographs are mainly developed using albumen silver print techniques, although some are produced using the slightly older and more time intensive salt print method. Graham’s collection and its raison d’être differ from some other collections from the same period, since it was not created wholly for commercial resale in the burgeoning…

Western Palestine, live in colour!

By Nne-Amaka Nwokocha There is a collection of watercolour paintings, and a few pencil and ink sketches, created during a key project, the Survey of the Western Palestine, which was run by the PEF from 1871-1878. This project involved mapping, describing and recording the whole region of the southern Levant west of the River Jordan, from Beirut and Damascus in the north to Beersheba in the south. This project produced 26 sheets of maps and 13 volumes of written records describing the Western Palestine, useful information for the goals of the PEF. Lieutenant Claude R. Conder, R.E., an officer in the Royal Engineers, was the leader of the project and is the author of this collection. Lt. Conder was deeply involved…

The Palestine Exploration Fund / Albright Institute Fellowship

London and Jerusalem. An award of £3,000 to support research that requires access to the PEF archives and collection and also time spent in residence at the Albright Institute in Jerusalem. The Fellowship requires a minimum of 10 working days at the PEF in Greenwich, London, and a 1 month minimum stay at AIAR in Jerusalem. The room and half-board at the Institute ($1,200 per month) will come from the award, with the rest a flexible stipend for the other activities. This Fellowship is open to doctoral and post-doctoral researchers of all nationalities. This Fellowship is for a residential period between 1 September 2021 and 31 May 2022. The working days at the PEF may be completed anytime from the granting of the award until 31 May…

The Photos of the Prince of Wales’ 1862 Tour

By Nne-Amaka Nwokocha The photographs in this collection, taken by Francis Bedford, cover the Middle East tour that the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) took in 1862, visiting Palestine, Syria, Anatolia, Egypt, Lebanon and Greece, all of which, except Greece, were under the control of the Ottoman Empire at the time. This tour had been planned by Prince Albert for the Crown Prince to ‘improve’ him when news of his ‘relationship’ with an Irish girl started to arise. The year after the death of his father, Victoria still sent him on this tour with 9 other men, including the photographer Bedford and an influential cleric, Dean Arthur Penhryn Stanley of Westminster, who would become one of the founders…

Underground Jerusalem

Jeffrey Auerbach In 1869, William Simpson, already famous for his Crimean War drawings, accompanied the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII, to Egypt for the opening of the Suez Canal. After finishing his work there, Simpson traveled to Jerusalem where Charles Warren of the Royal Engineers was conducting archeological excavations on behalf of the Palestine Exploration Fund. Warren was sending back written reports to The Illustrated London News, but did not have any images, so Simpson offered to make some sketches. He had already produced several illustrations for Rev. George Sandie’s book about Jerusalem but had never visited the city. Over the course of two weeks, Warren guided Simpson through the subterranean labyrinths beneath the Temple Mount /…