PALESTINE EXPLORATION FUND


PALESTINE EXPLORATION FUND, a British society for the exploration of the Holy Land, founded in 1865 under the patronage of Queen Victoria; the first president and secretary were, respectively, the Archbishop of York and G. Grove. The society was to be conducted strictly on scientific principles, not subject to any religious dogma. The quarterly statement of the society, first published in 1869, was still appearing in 1971. Between 1911 and 1970, six volumes of an annual were published. After World War I it joined forces with the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem.

The first activities of the fund included a survey of Jerusalem. It maintained C. *Warren's expedition to Jerusalem, where work was carried out mainly around the enclosure Wall of the Temple. From 1874 to 1882, the fund was engaged in its second large project: the survey of the region west of the Jordan. This work was completed by C.R. *Conder, C.W. *Wilson, and H.H.H. Kitchener and included a 26-sheet map and Memoirs (5 vols.). At about the same time, the society supported C.S. *Clermont-Ganneau's researches in Palestine and made a partial survey of Transjordan. In 1890 the fund resumed excavations: at Tell el-Ḥesi, directed by W.M.F. *Petrie and F.J. *Bliss; in Jerusalem, directed by Bliss and Dickie; and in the hills of the Shephelah, directed by Bliss and R.A.S. *Macalister. From 1905 to 1909, it financed Macalister's large excavations at *Gezer and afterward started work at *Beth Shemesh, under the direction of Duncan and Mackenzie. After World War I, the fund took part in the work on the hill of Ophel, directed by Mackenzie, Macalister, and J.W. *Crowfoot, and in the excavations at Samaria, under the direction of Crowfoot. After World War II, it participated in the excavations of K. *Kenyon in Jericho and Jerusalem. In addition to its field work, the Palestine Exploration Fund has published a series of English translations of Oriental sources and the accounts of ancient pilgrims. It has an excellent library and archives at the London headquarters.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.