The Palestine Exploration Fund Annuals began in 1911 and after a gap of fifty years the series was relaunched in 2007


The Annuals are devoted to virtually all aspects of the history, archaeology, culture, ethnology, geography and geology of the Levant, especially but not exclusively research conducted or supported by the Fund and including excavation reports, major conference proceedings and monographs. Prospective authors are encouraged to contact the current Editor of the series, Dr. Chiara Fiaccavento, at

PEF Annual XV

Roman-Period and Byzantine Nazareth and its Hinterland

by Ken Dark

Roman-Period and Byzantine Nazareth and its Hinterland presents a new social and economic interpretation of Roman-period and Byzantine Nazareth and its hinterland as a whole, showing the transformation of a Roman-period Jewish village into a major Byzantine Christian pilgrimage centre.

Although Nazareth is one of the most famous places in the world, this is the first book on Roman-period and Byzantine Nazareth by a professional archaeologist, the only book to consider the archaeology of Nazareth in the context of its adjacent landscape, and the first to use contemporary archaeological methods and theory to explore Nazareth’s archaeology. Taking as his starting point a systematic survey of the valley between Nazareth and the Roman town of Sepphoris, Dark offers an interpretation of communities elsewhere in the Roman world as networks of interlocking cells, with interactions along routeways being more important in cultural and economic terms than the relationship between urban centres and their surrounding countryside. His conclusions have implications for the wider archaeology of the Roman and Byzantine worlds, as well as for archaeological theory, and demonstrate the importance of Nazareth to world archaeology.

This unique book will be invaluable to those interested in Nazareth and its surrounding landscape, as well as to archaeologists and scholars of the Roman and Byzantine worlds

Ken Dark has a PhD in Archaeology and History from the University of Cambridge and was Director of the Research Centre for Late Antique and Byzantine Studies at the University of Reading for 15 years. Currently Associate Professor in Archaeology and History at Reading, he is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Anthropological Institute, the author of numerous academic books and papers on archaeology and history, and has directed many archaeological excavations and surveys in Europe and the Middle East.

Members of the PEF receive generous discounts on all Annuals purchased online through the above website, so to find out how to claim your discount, please contact the PEF office ( or 0207 935 5379) with your details and we will provide you with the code.

PEF Annual XIV

Dolmens in the Levant

by James A Fraser

When Western explorers first encountered dolmens in the Levant, they thought they had discovered the origins of a megalithic phenomenon that spread as far as the Atlantic coast. Although European dolmens are now considered an unrelated tradition, many researchers continue to approach dolmens in the Levant as part of a trans-regional phenomenon that spanned the Taurus mountains to the Arabian peninsula.

By tightly defining the term ‘dolmen’ itself, this book brings these mysterious monuments into sharper focus. Drawing on historical, archaeological and geological sources, it is shown that dolmens in the Levant mostly concentrate in the eastern escarpment of the Jordan Rift Valley, and in the Galilean hills. They cluster near proto-urban settlements of the Early Bronze I period (3700–3000 BCE) in particular geological zones suitable for the extraction of megalithic slabs. Rather than approaching dolmens as a regional phenomenon, this book considers dolmens as part of a local burial tradition whose tomb forms varied depending on geological constraints.

‘Dolmens in the Levant’ is essential for anyone interested in the rise of civilisations in the ancient Middle East, and particularly those who have wondered at the origins of these enigmatic burial monuments that dominate the landscape.

James A. Fraser was awarded his PhD at the university of Sydney, for his thesis on Levantine dolmens in 2016. He served as Project Curator for the Ancient Levant at the British Museum 2015–2017, and is now Senior Curator of the Nicholson Museum, University of Sydney. He has worked on archaeolgical projects in Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kashmir, Greece, Cambodia, Australia, and the Solomon Islands. He currently directs the Khirbet Ghozlan Excavation Project, investigating the production of olive oil in Jordan around 2000 BCE.

Members of the PEF receive generous discounts on all Annuals purchased online through the above website, so to find out how to claim your discount, please contact the PEF office ( or 0207 935 5379) with your details and we will provide you with the code.


The Excavations of Beth Shemesh, November–December 1912

by Duncan Mackenzie, Nicoletta Momigliano, Shlomo Bunimovitz, & Zvi Lederman

In 1909 the Scottish archaeologist Duncan Mackenzie was appointed ‘Explorer’ of the PEF. From the spring of 1910 until December 1912 he was engaged in archaeological fieldwork in Palestine, especially directing excavation campaigns at Ain Shems (biblical Beth Shemesh) – an important site in the Shephelah of Judah at the crossroads of Canaanite, Philistine, and Israelite cultures. Because of a financial dispute with the PEF, however, he never submitted a detailed publication of his last campaign at Beth Shemesh, conducted in November-December 1912.

In 1992 Nicoletta Momigliano rediscovered Mackenzie’s lost manuscript, which one of his nephews had kept for nearly 80 years at his old family home in the Scottish Highlands. At about the same time, Shlomo Bunimovitz and Zvi Lederman initiated new excavations at Beth Shemesh. This volume presents Mackenzie’s detailed discussion of his last excavations in the light of these more recent discoveries. Although written over a century ago, Mackenzie’s manuscript provides significant new information on this important site and constitutes an intriguing historical document, shedding light on the history of field archaeology and of biblical archaeology. Moreover, Mackenzie’s pioneering approach and the significance of his finds can often be better appreciated today, from the perspective of more recent developments and discoveries.

ISBN: 978-1-138-64074-0 (hbk)
ISBN: 978-1-315-63074-8 (ebk)
ISSN: 1753-9234

PEF Annual XII

Villain or Visionary? R.A.S. Macalister and the Archaeology of Palestine

edited by Samuel R. Wolff

R.A.S. Macalister is an important but controversial figure inthe history of Palestinian archaeology.

This volume celebrates the cePEF Annual XII ntennial of the publication of his excavations at Tel Gezer (1912), conducted under the auspices of the PEF. This excavation was the most ambitious one of its time in the land, yielding important architectural remains and thousands of artefacts, including the well-known Gezer Calendar. The contributions of several eminent scholars reflect on the man and his work, and also report on how his work influenced the understanding of the sites he excavated in Palestine, all of which are currently being re-investigated. It is also richly illustrated with images from the PEF archives.

Evaluations of Macalister’s work vary tremendously and are reflected here. Many learnt from him, others deplored his methods and record keeping. As one contributor puts it, ‘an industrious archaeologist but an awful excavator’, and a man who was both admired and intensely disliked: regarded as both a villain and a visionary. But it is generally agreed that he is a figure who cannot be ignored, and anyone interested in Palestinian archaeology will find a great deal to learn from this book.

For non-PEF members: £48
For PEF members: £24

ISBN: 9781909662605

PEF Annual XI

Tourists Travellers and Hotels in 19th Century Jerusalem

by Shimon Gibson, Yoni Shapira, and Rupert L. Chapman III

Jerusalem was a constant focus in the hearts and minds of all pilgrims Annual XI coverand tourists travelling to the Holy Land in the nineteenth century, but knowing exactly where they might get clean and decent accommodations on arrival was of the utmost importance.

This volume is a study of the rise of commercial hotel keeping in Jerusalem, from the beginnings in the early 1840s, drawing extensively on travel accounts and archives, notably those of the Palestine Exploration Fund. Chapters cover modes of travel and the role of dragomen, the appearance of early guidebooks, and various other aspects of secular tourism, such as the development of travel bureaus in the Levant, notably the Thomas Cook & Son company, and the significant part that freemasonry played amongst tourism vendors.

The book primarily provides readers with a comprehensive account of early hotels, inns and hostels in Jerusalem, and the names and personal histories of their proprietors. Special attention is given to the development of the Mediterranean Hotel which was one of the most important establishments of its kind in nineteenth-century Jerusalem, and the fascinating story of the rediscovery of its second location.

Many travellers passed through its doors, notably the writers Herman Melville and Mark Twain, U. S. Grant, the explorer Charles Warren, and members of the Survey of Western Palestine mapping party.

This study which includes a wide variety of pictorial archival materials, was initiated and made possible by the Shapell Manuscript Foundation.

For non-PEF members: £48
For PEF members: £24

Members of the PEF receive generous discounts on all Annuals purchased online through the above website, so to find out how to claim your discount, please contact the PEF office ( or 0207 935 5379) with your details and we will provide you with the code.

ISBN: 9781907975288

PEF Annual X

Mapping Jordan through Two Millennia

by John R. Bartlett

This book shows how travellers and scholars since Roman times have put together their maps of the land east of the River Jordan. It traces the contribution of Roman armies and early Christian pilgrims and medieval European travellers, Crusading armies, learned scholars like Jacob Ziegler, sixteenth-century mapmakers like Mercator and Ortelius, eighteenth-century travellers and savants, and nineteenth-century biblical scholars and explorers like Robinson and Smith, culminating in the late-nineteenth century surveyors working for the Palestine Exploration Fund. This original and valuable book shows, with full illustrations, how maps of the Transjordan region developed through the centuries, and with its detailed tables and bibliography will aid future scholars in further research.

The author took part in archaeological excavations and surveys in Jordan, was Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Fellow at Trinity College Dublin, has published research papers and books on ancient Jordan. John Bartlett was the editor of the Palestine Exploration Quarterly, and until recently was the Chairman of the Palestine Exploration Fund.

For non-PEF members: £48
For PEF members: £24

Members of the PEF receive generous discounts on all Annuals purchased online through the above website, so to find out how to claim your discount, please contact the PEF office ( or 0207 935 5379) with your details and we will provide you with the code.

ISBN: 9781905981403
Publisher: Maney Publishing for the Palestine Exploration Fund, 2009

160 pages, hardback

PEF Annual IX

The Levant in Transition

edited by Peter J. Parr

The latter part of the 3rd millennium BC witnessed severe dislocations in the social, economic and political structures of the lands at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea – the Levant. In the south, in what is now Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Jordan, hitherto thriving urban centres disappeared, to be replaced for several centuries by smaller agricultural and pastoral settlements, with an apparently increasingly large semi-nomadic or nomadic element in the population.

In the north – modern Syria – life in many of the earlier towns was also disrupted, but there does not seem to have been such a major break in urban traditions, and the new towns which soon replaced the old were to rise to unprecedented heights of prosperity and cultural achievement well before the end of the millennium.

The causes of these different but related historical developments – including possible environmental changes, military activity, and ethnic movements – have long enthralled archaeologists and ancient historians. This volume contains the papers given at a conference held in 2004 at the British Museum, presenting both new evidence and new theories bearing on this transitional period. Edited by Peter J. Parr, it contains contributions by Daniele Morandi Bonacossi, Rupert Chapman III, Karen Covello-Paran, Claude Doumet-Serha, Ram Gophna, Moti Haiman, Moshe Kochavi, Jessie C. Long Jr., Minna Lonnqvist, Peter J. Parr, Francis Pinnock, Kay Prag, Suzanne Richard, R.Thomas Schaub, and Jonathan N.Tubb.

For non-PEF members: £48
For PEF members: £24

Members of the PEF receive generous discounts on all Annuals purchased online through the above website, so to find out how to claim your discount, please contact the PEF office ( or 0207 935 5379) with your details and we will provide you with the code.

ISBN: 9781904350996
Publisher: Maney Publishing for the Palestine Exploration Fund, 2009

128 pages, 8 B&W illustrations, hardback


Stone Vessels in the Levant

by Rachael Thyrza Sparks

Examining stone vessels in the Levant during the 2nd millennium BC, the author explores the links between material culture and society through a comprehensive study of production and distribution. Extensively illustrated with 100 drawings, maps and charts, this volume includes a full object catalogue.

This study represents the first comprehensive overview of the stone vessel assemblagesof the Levant in this period, a time which, fed by an increase of wealth and interregional trade, saw a growth in the popularity and variety of such vessels.

Previously, our understanding of the varied functions and forms of these diverse vessels has been relatively underdeveloped. In this volume the author attempts to address this problem by creating a typological framework though which we can analyse variability and define essential characteristics of local stone vessel workshops. Only once this has been achieved is it possible to look at stone vessel production in its wider cultural context.

Subsequent chapters explore broader themes, beginning within the workshops themselves, examining the links between craftsmen, their sources of raw materials, and the authorities that controlled and distributed their output. Considerations of the geographical and chronological distribution of such goods are then used to provide a regional perspective for the operation of these workshops, connections between them, and further insights into the nature of local and international trade. Finally, the objects themselves can be used to assess the impact of trends such as the growing Egyptianization of the ruling classes of the Levant at this time.


For non-PEF members: £96
For PEF members: £48

Members of the PEF receive generous discounts on all Annuals purchased online through the above website, so to find out how to claim your discount, please contact the PEF office ( or 0207 935 5379) with your details and we will provide you with the code.

ISBN: 9781904350972
Publisher: Maney Publishing for the Palestine Exploration Fund, 2007

512 pages, 100 drawings, maps and charts, hardback

PEF Annual VII

The Hellenistic Paintings of Marisa

by David M. Jacobson

In early June 1902, John Peters, an American theologian, and Hermann Thiersch, a German classical scholar, were alerted to the discovery of two painted burial caves at Marisa/Beit Jibrin, less than 40 miles (62 km) by road southwest from Jerusalem. Tomb robbers had, a short time previously, forced their way into the burial chambers and caused damage to their fabric. Realising that these splendid tombs dated to about 200 BCE and the importance of their painted interiors, the two scholars immediately commissioned a leading Jerusalem photographer, Chalil Raad, to record them. This was fortunate, because the paintings on the soft limestone walls rapidly deteriorated and now can no longer be seen. Peters and Thiersch published a monograph on the painted tombs, illustrated with hand-drawn copies of the photographs, but the original plates have lain all these years in the archives of the Palestine Exploration Fund in London, unpublished.

The paintings are unique in the Greek pictorial repertoire and are among the most important surviving examples of Ptolemaic art. The remarkable painted frieze extending along the two long sides of the main chamber of Tomb I depicts 22 different animal species, drawn from the wild fauna of the Levant, the Nile basin and the Horn of Africa – as well as a few mythical beasts. This animal frieze attests to the interest in exotic animals shown in the Hellenistic period. Other remarkable subjects represented in the Marisa paintings include Cerberus, the three-headed guard-dog of Hades, and a pair of elegant musicians in Greek dress.

Timed to coincide with the centenary of the discovery of the painted tombs, a new study on the paintings has been produced by David Jacobson. This study appears as Annual VII of the Palestine Exploration Fund. It contains, for the first time, high quality reproductions of the photographic plates taken in 1902, which are held in the PEF collections. Reproduced with the photographs are the proofs of the coloured lithographs, which are superior in quality to the versions that were published. The inaccuracies and loss of delicate detail of the originals in the coloured lithographs used by Peters and Thiersch for their 1905 publication are clearly apparent. The accompanying text includes an analysis of all the paintings in the light of a century of scholarship and an assessment is made of their religious and cultural significance. Each of the animals in the frieze is compared with descriptions given by ancient writers, and a new interpretation is presented of the cycle as a whole. An appraisal is made of the overall contribution of the Marisa paintings to our knowledge of the art and culture of the Levant in the Ptolemaic period.

Included with this new study is facsimile reprint of the original 1905 publication, now long out of print, and it includes superior copies of the coloured lithographs from that edition. This new publication also reproduces a very rare addenda section prepared by R.A.S. Macalister after inspecting the Marisa tombs in October of that year.

For non-PEF members: £60
For PEF members: £30

Members of the PEF receive generous discounts on all Annuals purchased online through the above website, so to find out how to claim your discount, please contact the PEF office ( or 0207 935 5379) with your details and we will provide you with the code.

ISBN: 9781904350989
Publisher: Maney Publishing for the Palestine Exploration Fund, 2007

260 pages, hardback

First: Original photograph (1902) and coloured lithograph of Cerberus from Tomb I at Marisa, c. 200 BC. Second: Original photograph (1902) and coloured lithograph of a rooster from Tomb I at Marisa, c. 200 BC

PEF Annual III – No Longer Available

The Wilderness of Zin (revised 3rd edition)

by C. Leonard Woolley and T. E. Lawrence

The Wilderness of Zin was first published as the Annual of the Palestine Exploration Fund for 1914/15. It describes an incredible archaeological survey carried out as cover for a British military mapping operation in southern Palestine just before the outbreak of World War One in 1914. In the space of less than two months, the two men had traversed much of the Negeb Desert and the Wadi Arabah, recording numerous monuments from previous eras. Such was the whirlwind of war that both men were already serving with Military Intelligence in Cairo when their report was published in early 1915. It was to be the most comprehensive account of the region at the time and is still vital reading for scholars in the field. However, it is also of interest to the general reader because it gives an insight into archaeological research in the early 20th century. Finally, it is wonderfully written.

This edition also includes much extra material, most of it from the extensive Palestine Exploration Fund archives. There are numerous unpublished letters written by Lawrence, Woolley, and the expedition leader Stewart Newcombe. Official War Office and PEF letters are also included and help to set the survey against its political background. Four book reviews of the 1935 Jonathan Cape Edition and timeline round off the supplementary material.


Selected review comments from 1936 for the 2nd edition of The Wilderness of Zin, published by Jonathan Cape:

Natal Advertiser: 
“… an excellent work of archaeological research …. It introduces the reader to a portion of the earth that has changed little since the time of Moses.”

New York Sun:
“… a brilliant record of hazardous adventure …”

The Montreal Gazette:
“… admirers of T. E. Lawrence will find it a valuable addition to the ana of that strange and impressive personage.”

The Egyptian Gazette:
“… the quality of writing throughout is of a very high order, with the easy attractive style of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.”

Glasgow Herald:
“… it is an astonishingly rich harvest to have been garnered in less than seven weeks.”

Great Britain and the East:
“… a magnificent proof, if proof were needed, of the work of such institutions as the Palestine Exploration Fund.

Jewish Chronicle:
“… exquisite style and occasional flashes of unexpected humour.”

The Guardian:
“They really give the impression of a ‘god-forsaken’ land …. Was it ever so?”


No longer available directly. Please try sourcing a copy through a reseller.

For non-PEF members: £26
For PEF members: £22.50

ISBN: 1900988291
Publisher: Stacey International for the Palestine Exploration Fund (revised 3rd edition), 2003
Dimensions: 18 x 21 cm, portrait

264 pages, 56 Plates, 58 line drawings, 2 maps, casebound

First: T.E. Lawrence and C.L. Woolley at Carchemish, 1912. Second: Byzantine Cistern on the Darb el-Shur near Bir Birien. Dahoum is seen acting as scale (Plate VIII:1). Third: Ain Kadeis: Spring and Rivulet (Plate XI:1). This was where the American Scholar Trumbull had claimed to have found a large oasis. Woolley referred to his account as a ‘farrago of lies’ in one of the unpublished letters included in the new edition. Fourth: Roman blockhouse below Naqb el-Safa (Building A at Mezad Neqarot – on the Kurnub-Petra Road) (Plate XXXII:1).

Books Related to the Work of the PEF

The following books focus on topics that illuminate the history, archaeology and geography of the Levant.

Several authors and contributors have close connections with the PEF.

Distant Views of the Holy Land

by Felicity Cobbing & David M. Jacobson

The Holy Land has been an enduring magnet for visitors seeking to retrace the footsteps of biblical prophets, kings and saints and to glimpse the setting of eventsDistant Views cover recorded in the Scriptures. This book offers a selection of over 350 early photographs, paintings, and drawings of the length and breadth of the Holy Land from the rich repository of images in the archives of the Palestine Exploration Fund. As these images were produced before modern development impacted on these landscapes they are an invaluable resource.The pictures are accompanied by nine maps and plans showing the locations depicted and a commentary describing the biblical context, informed by up-to-date scholarship. The book is divided into five chapters; an introduction which includes a brief account of pilgrimage to the Holy Land through the ages, followed by a series of geographical ‘tours’ through Galilee, Samaria, and Judaea and Philistia, before culminating with a focus on the two main sites of interest for the traveller: Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

While often very beautiful in their own right, the pictures also reflect the interest and sensibilities of the photographers and those who collected them, and capture the opposing undercurrents of scientific enquiry and piety characteristic of 19th Century European society. In the case of the photographers engaged by the PEF, a striving for objectivity is strikingly evident in their work.

Publisher’s recommended price: £125 / $200
Introductory offer: £81.25 / $130

ISBN: 9781781790618 (hb)

2014, 308pp, 275 x 210mm, 350 illustrations, including colour throughout and 7 maps and plans

The Survey of Palestine Under the British Mandate, 1920–1948

by Dov Gavish

This book, which is sponsored by the PEF, is a historical study of the survey and mapping system of Palestine under the British Mandate. It traces the background and the reasoning behind the establishment of this survey project, examines the foundations of this enterprise, and attempts to understand the motivation of those who carried it out. The author, Dr. Dov Gavish, is an expert on Cartographic History at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Dr. Gavish shows that the survey system under the British Mandate was established with the objective of surveying and mapping Palestine, as demanded by the Zionist Organisation, in order to implement legally binding land settlement and registration of tenure rights and to establish the distribution of land ownership. The land issue was at the core concern of the mapping activity, and it remains as a core issue at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

This study will be of interest to historians of cartography and land surveys, historians of the British mandate period, the Arab-Israel conflict, experts in Land Law, and those of British colonial administration. With the material being presented in an accessible form, with basic concepts clearly explained, Dr. Gavish’s book should also appeal to students of historical geography, cartography, and political science. It is published by Routledge Curzon, under the aegis of the PEF.

To see the maps mentioned in the text in colour, and download them, go to this website.

Price for non-members: £60
Price for PEF members: £50 (all profits donated to the PEF)

  • To order please contact: 
    The Financial Assistant
    Palestine Exploration Fund
    2 Hinde Mews
    Marylebone Lane
    W1U 2AA
    Tel: +44-(0)20-7935-5379
    Fax: +44-(0)120-7486-7438

Publisher: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005
ISBN-10: 0714656518
ISBN-13: 978-0714656519
Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.8 x 2.5cm

264 pages, hardback

First: Measurement taken from point 2M of the Palestine Major triangulation base line, Imara lands 1925 (Source: J.H. Mankin photo collection in PEF Archives, London). Second: The Major Triangulation system in Palestine at the end of World War II, 31 December 1946 (Source: Pal. Govt., Annual Reports of Director of Surveys, 1940-1946, Map 3). Third: Leveling survey in the Kabara swamps, 1925 (Source: Photo by Z. Oron-Oroshkes, CZA Subjects/102). Fourth: School for Arab surveyors at Nazareth, 1945 (Source: J. Loxton, Taunton, England). Fifth: Base lines of two triangulation nets in the lands of Samakh, Deganya A and Deganya B, 22 December 1924 (Source: Field Book of J.H. Mankin, 24 December 1924, Letter T/4/184, SoI/C/14, Tel Aviv). Sixth: 1:2,000 Map of Jerusalem, section of Sheet VII-D (Source: ML, Jerusalem).