The PEF houses unique and diverse collections of artefacts, natural history specimens, documents, maps, paintings, drawings, and photographs from our numerous expeditions and excavations in the Levant in the 19th and 20th centuries.

In addition, the PEF curates archival material donated by individuals and organisations. The result is a unique resource used by scholars and researchers from around the world from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds.

There are several collections of significance. These include the extensive Documentary and Map archives from the PEF’s Surveys of Western Palestine, Eastern Palestine, the Wady Arabah (Aravah), and the Negeb (Negev) Desert (Wilderness of Zin). Also of unique interest are the archaeological collections from the PEF’s excavations at Tell el-Hesi, Jerusalem, and Samaria. There are also casts of artefacts that remained in Palestine or were transferred to Istanbul, including those from Gezer.

Our extensive photographic collection documents these expeditions, and contains additional material from commercial photographers and private individuals.

There is a small but important collection of watercolours, including a number by William Simpson, James Clark, and Claude Conder.

The Natural History collection contains a selection of flora and fauna specimens mostly collected during the 19th century, geological samples from the Sinai, and a Herbarium donated in the 1980s. The Ethnographic collection consists of ceramics, clothing and personal effects collected in the 19th century by PEF explorers or those associated with the PEF. The material covers the whole geographical region of the Levant, from Sinai in the south to Damascus in the north.


Those wishing to access the collections should contact the Curator at: Please also contact us for reproduction permissions and for information on high quality image purchasing.

You can browse a selection of our images via the Bridgeman Art Library.

In addition, a selection of low resolution images from the PEF’s 19th century photographic collections can be accessed on the Palestine Exploration Fund’s pages on Flickr.

Copyright statement

Unless otherwise stated, the digitized images of photographs, prints, drawings, archival documents, and objects presented on the webpages of the Palestine Exploration Fund are subject to copyright laws and are the exclusive property of the Palestine Exploration Fund. Commercial use or publication of these images is strictly prohibited without prior written permission from the Palestine Exploration Fund.

For images uploaded by the PEF onto Flickr, these low resolution images and metadata are in the public domain and freely available for teaching and research. Please let us know if you intend to use these images by writing to us: Please include in your caption: “Courtesy of the Palestine Exploration Fund”.


We wish to thank long-standing PEF member Brian Greaves for photographing many of the objects presented on these pages.