British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem

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The British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem (BSAJ) was established in 1919. The London-based Palestine Exploration Fund was instrumental in its foundation. The first Director was British archaeologist John Garstang, and among its earliest students was architect-archaeologist George Horsfield, later Chief Inspector of Antiquities in British Mandate Transjordan. An excavation at Tughbah Caves by BSAJ student Francis Turville-Petre in 1925 yielded an important prehistoric find, the Galilee skull.[1] Under Garstang's directorship, the BSAJ began excavations on Mount Ophel, Jerusalem, with the Palestine Exploration Fund. Garstang resigned his post as Director of the BSAJ in 1926 and British archaeologist John Winter Crowfoot, who had trained at the British School at Athens, became the School's second Director. With his wife, Grace Mary (Molly) Crowfoot, a noted expert in textiles, crafts and botany, John Crowfoot conducted excavations at Mount Ophel, Jerusalem (1927–1929), Jerash (1928–1930) and Samaria (1930–1935).[2] Dorothy Garrod, who excavated at Mount Carmel as a BSAJ student in 1929 along with Mary Kitson-Clark and Elinor Ewbank, produced evidence of the Natufian culture.[3]

The British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem had close ties to the American Schools of Oriental Research, led by archaeologist William Foxwell Albright, and the French École Biblique, through the Reverend Fathers Luis-Hughes Vincent, Antoine Raphael Savignac and Felix-Marie Abel.[4]

It continues today as the Kenyon Institute of the Council for British Research in the Levant, following a merger in 1998 with the British Institute at Amman for Archaeology and History.[5]

List of directors[edit]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Gibson, S. 1999. British Archaeological Institutions in Mandatory Palestine, 1917-1948. Palestine Exploration Quarterly, 131, 115-143.
  • Thornton, A. 2009. "Archaeological Training in Mandate Palestine: The BSAJ Minute Books at the PEF," available at:
  • Thornton, A. 2012. Archaeologists-in-Training: Students of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, 1920-1936. Journal of Open Archaeology Data, 1(1), Ubiquity Press. DOI:


  1. ^ Bar-Yosef, O. and Callander, J. A "Forgotten Archaeologist: The Life of Francis Turville-Petre," Palestine Exploration Quarterly, 129 (1), 2-18.
  2. ^ Crowfoot, E. 1990. Crowfoot, John Winter, in E. Meyers (ed.), The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East (Vol 2), 72-73; Crowfoot, E. 1997. Grace Mary Crowfoot 1877-1957. Breaking Ground: Women in Old World Archaeology. [Online], available at Brown University.
  3. ^ Smith, P. 2001. Pioneers in Palestine: The Women Excavators of el-Wad Cave, in Whitehouse, R. Women in Archaeology and Antiquity. London: University College London
  4. ^ Viviano, B. T. 1991. Profiles of Archaeological Institutes: Ėcole Biblique et Archaeologique Française de Jerusalem. Biblical Archaeologist 54 (3), 160-167; King, P. J. 1984. ASOR at 85. Biblical Archaeologist, 47 (4), 197-205
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 2015-06-14.  External link in |title= (help)
  6. ^ "John Winter Crowfoot, 1873-1959". Profiles. The Palestine Exploration Fund. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "About Us". Kenyon Institute. Council for British Research in the Levant. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  8. ^ "Crystal-M Bennett". Women in Old World Archaeology. Brown University. Retrieved 1 June 2015.