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Sir Charles° Warren

WARREN, SIR CHARLES° (1840–1927), British army officer, police commissioner, and archaeologist. Warren entered service in the Royal Engineers in 1857. He carried out a survey of Gibraltar from 1861 to 1865 and conducted excavations at Jerusalem from 1867 to 1870. Together with C.R. *Conder, he published the results of the survey of western Palestine which Conder had completed in 1881. Warren also conducted a survey of southern Transjordan. In his archeological work in Jerusalem Warren concentrated on excavating the outer wall of the Temple enclosure. Digging a series of underground tunnels, he labored under vast difficulties. Among his discoveries was the wall of the Ophel. Warren recorded the results of his excavations with great care, and they provided the main source of information on the Herodian wall down to its foundation until excavations were again undertaken there in 1968. He also preserved and registered every object he uncovered – a new departure at that time – which gave his work lasting value. His topographical and historical theories, on the other hand, have for the most part become obsolete.

Among his publications are The Recovery of Jerusalem (1871), Underground Jerusalem (1876), The Survey of Western Palestine (with C.R. Conder, 1884), and several works on problems of ancient weights and measures (especially The Early Weights and Measures of Mankind, 1913). Warren was one of the founders of the Palestine Exploration Fund and a member of its Executive Committee from 1871 until his death.

Warren was among those who advocated the Jewish settlement of Palestine (in The Land of Promise, 1875). In his opinion the country with its natural borders could absorb 15 million people if all its resources were exploited properly. Warren is most famous today for his time as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police from 1886 until 1889, when, among other things, he had to deal with the "Jack the Ripper" murders in Whitechapel. Warren acted with great sensitivity towards the large Jewish community in London's East End, ordering that antisemitic graffiti found near the scene of one murder be immediately erased, for fear that it would stir up anti-Jewish hostility. His role is discussed in all of the many accounts of the "Ripper" crimes, generally regarded as the most famous unsolved murders in history.


W.W. Williams, The Life of General Sir Charles Warren (1941). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: ODNB online; P. Begg, Jack the Ripper: The Definitive History (2003), index.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.