East & South-East Asia
Near & Middle East
Slavic & Balkan
North America
Near & Middle East Titles:
Survey of Western Palestine 1882-1888
Alphabetical list
Titles by Topic
Titles by Country

ISBN: (13) 978-1-85207-835-5
Extent: 13 volumes, 3,760 pages, including colour plates & 3 map boxes

Editor: C. R. Conder and H. H. Kitchener
ISBN: (10) 1-85207-835-9
Published: 1998
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library binding with gilt finish
See sample pages: not available


Archive Editions in association with the Palestine Exploration Fund present the
re-publication of one of the great standard works of reference for Middle East studies the Survey of Western Palestine carrried out between 1871 and 1877 by C.R. Condor and H.H. Kitchener, later Lord Kitchener. We have added the 1 volume of the Survey of Eastern Palestine to comply with the intention of the original surveyors. The dates 1882-1888 are relevant to the original publication of the volumes rather than the dates of the survey itself. 

Back to top

Historical Overview

This comprehensive work was the first detailed survey of the area that used to be known as Western Palestine. The whole country west of the Jordan from Tyre in the north to Beersheba in the south was submitted to the surveyors´ scrutiny - every town, village, saint´s tomb, sacred tree, and heap of stones was meticulously recorded. Ruined cities, buildings, tombs, and interesting sites were all excavated, drawn, or photographed: place names, geological and natural history specimens, as well as antiquities, were collected, and casts of inscriptions were made. The surveyed area includes modern day Israel, the southernmost part of Lebanon and Jordan as far as the River Jordan. The Islamic archaeology of Jerusalem and the countryside is also meticulously surveyed.
The authors of the Survey were Lieutenants Claude Reignier Conder and Horatio Herbert Kitchener, both officers in the Royal Engineers. The volumes dealing with geology and the fauna and flora were written by specialists in those fields. The volume on the excavations at Jerusalem was written by Lt. C. Warren and Lt. Conder.
The Survey covered 6000 square miles and includes a set of 26 highly detailed maps and 50 plates supplemented by nine volumes of extensive writings on all aspects of Palestine: Memoirs on the topography, orography, hydrography and archaeology of Galilee, Samaria and Judea (one volume each); Special Papers on topography, archaeology, manners and customs; Jerusalem; Fauna and Flora; Geology; also Arabic and English Name Lists and a complete General Index.
The Survey was intended to include at a later date Eastern, Southern and Northern Palestine. In fact only one volume on Eastern Palestine was published, and has been included here.
Back to top

Documentary Importance

 Yolande Hodson, former Senior Research Assistant in the Map Library of the British Library, ´Mapping It Out´, Eretz, May-June 1997:
"By far the most accurate map of Palestine produced before the Mandatory period, the [Palestine Exploration Fund] map of 1880 is today the primary source for the study of 19th century Palestine."    

David A. Cobb, Head of Map Collection, Harvard University:

"A valuable facsimile ... for so important an area." 
Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund, Twenty-one years´ work in the Holy Land.

"The most important work ... on the Holy Land that has ever been given to the world, and the most important contribution to the illustration of the Bible since its translation into the vulgar tongue."
Back to top

Arrangement of volumes

(1) Fauna and Flora

(2) Geology

(3) General Index

(4) Jerusalem

(5) Memoirs I, Galilee
(6) Memoirs II, Samaria
(7) Memoirs III, Judea

(8) Arabic and English Name Lists
(9) Special Papers 

(10) Survey of Eastern Palestine

One map box containing the Map of Western Palestine 1872-1877: key map plus 26 Sheets.
Two map boxes contining the excavations at Jerusalem 1867-1870: (50 Plates in 2 volumes)

Back to top

Contents Outline

The Survey is here published in 10 text volumes with 3 map boxes containing the 76 large-scale maps and plates. 
Memoirs of Galilee, Samaria and Judea: Topography, Orography, Hydrography and Archaeology:

(3 volumes). By C. R. Conder and H. H. Kitchener.
The three Memoirs were intended to supplement the Map Sheets and expand on information discovered during the field work. The introduction discusses the formation of the Palestine Exploration Fund and the history of how the work was undertaken. The first chapter explains the technical methods used to obtain the heights of land plus the use made of astronomical and meteorological observations.
Conder used more than 50 sources to obtain information, including Egyptian, Samaritan and Talmudic writings, the early Christian itineraries, mediaeval chronicles and Josephus.
Special Papers: 

(1 volume). By C. Wilson, C. Warren, C. R. Conder, H. H. Kitchener, E. H. Palmer et al.
This volume is divided into three parts:
1. Explorations apart from the Survey (Northern Syria, Lower Egypt)
2. Western Palestine, past and present
3. Peasantry of Western Palestine
The style of the Papers is often anecdotal, demonstrating the author´s familiarity and first-hand experience with the material. The papers provide anthropological material as well as insights into the attitudes of the British to the local population in chapters on the Fellaheen of Palestine, the Arabs in Palestine, and the Syrian Troglodytes. The coming together of past and present in relation to archaeological sites is discussed in chapters on Christian and Jewish Traditions, the Moslem Mukams (sacred tombs) and Mediaeval Topography of Palestine. Determining the location of Biblical sites was and still is a source of scholarly debate; Conder laid down the axiom that ´when the tradition of Jew, Christian and Moslem unite there is strong presumption for believing that they are right´. The physical area covered in this volume extends beyond that shown in the maps. Papers included are: Bethany beyond Jordan, a journey to Biblical Sites in Lower Egypt, and Notes on Ruad (Aradus) and adjacent places in Northern Syria.
The Jerusalem volume:
(1 volume). By C. Warren and C. R. Conder.
The Jerusalem volume includes chapters on the Architectural History of Jerusalem, Ancient Inscriptions at Jerusalem, Excavations in Ophel and appendices which cover The Plain of Philistine, Expedition East of Jordan, The Lebanon and a paper on Pottery and Glass Found in Excavations.
Fauna and Flora:
(1 volume). By H. B. Tristram.
The wide range of fauna and flora found in Palestine at this time are identified and discussed, giving references, basic descriptions and location of sitings. The volume lists 3002 flowering plants and ferns, 113 mammals, 348 species of birds, 91 reptiles, 43 fish, and 213 molluscs.
In some cases the fauna are illustrated with a full-page black and white or colour illustration. This volume has both historical and modern-day significance for people working in this field.
(1 volume). By E. Hull.
Topics discussed in this volume include the cause of the difference between the faunas of the Red Sea and of the Mediterranean, formation of the Jordan-Arabah Valley, influence of partial subsidence of the land, influence of the presence of glaciers in the Lebanon upon the climate of Palestine, Geological structure of Arabia Petraea and Northern Africa, recent changes of climate and their causes, origin of the saltness of the Dead Sea and an appendix on Domestic Remedies of the Arabs of the Desert.
Arabic and English Name Lists:

(1 volume). By C. R. Conder, H. H. Kitchener and E. H. Palmer.
One of the most important aspects of the Survey was the systematic collection of place names and their attempted identification with Biblical sites. The lists record over 10,000 modern names, in comparison with the 600 places named in the Bible; of these, all but 100 were fixed with "more or less accuracy", representing an unprecedented toponymical record of Palestine. The lists are laid out so that they correspond to the 26 map sheets.
General Index:
(1 volume). By H. C. Stewardson.
A General Index was compiled in 1888 to cover all of the volumes. It is divided into two parts: the first is an index to the Memoirs, Special Papers, Jerusalem, Fauna and Flora, and Geology volumes; the second is an index to the Arabic and English Name Lists. There is a short Hebrew index at the end by Dr W. Aldis Wright.
Survey of Eastern Palestine: Topography, Orography, Hydrography and Archaeology: The Adwan Country:

(1 volume). By C. R. Conder.
This volume describes such places as Amman, Rabbath Ammon, Tyrus, Jazer, Heshbon, Medeba, Elealah, Pisgah, and the Jordan Valley Dolmens. In the Appendix there is a chapter on the Arab tribes East of Jordan, where the author refers to several by name.
Back to top

Key documents

Back to top


The 26 sheets are produced in tremendous detail (to a scale of one inch per mile) and are of such superb quality that they have great historical significance. In the areas that have not been affected by modern developments - and as the precursor maps of all areas - they are still valid. Siting of wadis, inns, minarets, churches, wells and cliffs are included on the maps. They cover an area north of Tyre and south to Beersheba and Masada (including Gaza), from the Mediterranean coastline as far east as the River Jordan.

This edition has been printed at 80% of original size.

Back to top

Editor's Introduction

Back to top

Related Titles:
Documentary Studies in Arabian Geopolitics: Iran in the Persian Gulf 1820–1966
Documentary Studies in Arabian Geopolitics: Lower Gulf Islands: Abu Musa And The Tunbs Dispute
Documentary Studies in Arabian Geopolitics: The Iraq–Kuwait Dispute 1830–1994
Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia
Historic Maps of Bahrain 1817–1970
History of the Indian Navy 1613–1863
Islands and Maritime Boundaries of the Gulf 1798–1960
Persian Gulf and Red Sea Naval Reports 1820–1960
Persian Gulf Gazette and Supplements 1953–1972
Persian Gulf Historical Summaries 1907–1953, The
Persian Gulf Pilot 1864–1932, The
Records of the Persian Gulf Pearl Fisheries 1857–1962
Survey of the Shores and Islands of the Persian Gulf 1820–1829