1871 survey of Western Palestine revisited: the visible and the hidden

28 February 2020 17:30 to 19:00

Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, 10 Thornhaugh St, Bloomsbury, London

Slides of this lecture are available here to accompany the audio recording of this lecture: https://soundcloud.com/cbrl_sound/1871-survey-of-western-palestine-revisited-the-visible-and-the-hidden


CBRL is delighted to be partnering with the Centre for Palestine Studies (SOAS) and the Palestinian Exploration Fund (PEF) for this lecture.



The Survey of Western Palestine (SWP), conducted between 1871 and 1878 and first published in 1880, was considered the first scientifically based comprehensive survey of Palestine and it was unequalled for its time. It remained the most comprehensive survey until the end of the 19th century and even later for some purposes. However, its aims were not fully achieved. In survey terms there have been errors of accuracy, mis-spelt names and significant loss of data that was collected but not used. Its aim of describing the population of the country were particularly lacking. Military objectives became apparent towards the end of the survey and served the British army well until the First World War. Dr Salman Abu Sitta’s new revised atlas is compiled over 500 pages and corrects location errors, the spelling of names, it documents missing names and lists place names in both Arabic and English. In this lecture Dr Salman Abu Sitta will explore the significance of the SWP through the documentation of Palestine in the following 150 years. 

          PEF-M-WS-92: Tracing of Sheet 14 from the Survey of Western Palestine ‘Great Map’ Camp Bidyeh. 24 Sq. Miles Traced by 2nd Cpl. G. Armstrong R.E., 1873.  Scale 1: 63, 360. 

About the speaker: Salman Abu SittaFounder and President of Palestine Land Society, London, dedicated to the documentation of Palestine’s land and People. Website www.plands.org. Author of six books on Palestine including the compendium Atlas of Palestine 1917- 1966, English and Arabic editions, the Atlas of the Return Journey and over 300 papers and articles on the Palestinian refugees, the Right of Return, history of al Nakba and human rights.  

This lecture will be chaired by Michael Talbot (University of Greenwich). Michael's work examines a number of topics in Ottoman history from the late seventeenth to the early twentieth century, with a general interest in Ottoman relations and interactions with the wider world. His research to date has examined Ottoman-British relations (17th-19th centuries), Ottoman maritime law and practice (18th century), and Ottoman urban history (particularly Istanbul and Palestine). Developing projects include Ottoman urban history, particularly littoral spaces such as in northern Palestine and Istanbul, and other projects relating to late Ottoman Palestine, including refugees and Ottomanism.

This event is open to all and free to attend.

Seating is unreserved - first come, first seated. The lecture theatre seats 145.

To register, click here

View other events