SOAS University of London

Centre for Palestine Studies

1871 Survey of Western Palestine Revisited: The Visible and The Hidden

IMG - Bidyeh Camp
Salman Abu Sitta (Founder and President of Palestine Land Society)

Date: 28 February 2020Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 28 February 2020Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre (KLT)

Type of Event: Lecture

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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.


Salman Abu Sitta, Founder and President of Palestine Land Society, London, dedicated to the documentation of Palestine’s land and People. Website 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 event is open to the public and free to attend, however registration is required. Online Registration

Organised by: The Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL), the Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF) and the Centre for Palestine Studies, SOAS

Chair: Dr Michael Talbot (University of Greenwich)

IMG - Bidyeh Camp

Image: 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.

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