Joint Middle East Department/Palestine Exploration Fund lecture series
The Wilderness of Zin 100 years on
Thursday 6 November,
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential
Phone +44 (0)20 7323 8181
Ticket Desk in Great Court
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As trauma grips the Middle East today, it is interesting to go back a hundred years to the last year of peace in the region before the outbreak of the First World War.
The Ottoman Empire was still the major power in the Levant, but Britain and Germany both had major interests in the eastern Mediterranean. With this in mind, Lord Kitchener realised the importance of completing the Palestine Exploration Fund’s mapping of the Holy Land. The Negeb Desert south of Beersheba had not been covered in the 19th century survey. In December 1913, a Royal Engineers cartographic team was sent into the Wilderness of Zin in southern Palestine, with an archaeological smokescreen provided by the PEF which employed two young archaeologists who were later to become famous in their own right: Leonard Woolley and T E Lawrence.
Sam Moorhead edited the latest version of the Wilderness of Zin, published by the PEF and Stacey International in 2003.
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Ain Gharandal, 1914. Photograph from the Wilderness of Zin Survey Archives of the PEF