For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Israel Exploration Society.

Israel Exploration Society

Israel Exploration Society meeting at Shivta, Israel, 1950s

The Israel Exploration Society (IES) (Hebrew:החברה לחקירת ארץ ישראל ועתיקותיה - Hakhevra Lekhakirat Eretz Yisrael Va'atikoteha), originally the Jewish Palestine Exploration Society, is a society devoted to historical, geographical and archaeological research of the Land of Israel. The society was founded in 1913 and again in 1920, with the object of studying the history and civilization of the Land of Israel and of disseminating its knowledge.[1]


The Israel Exploration Society plays a key role in archaeological research covering all periods, from prehistoric times to the Ottoman period. It coordinates much of the multi-institutional archaeological research carried out by both Israeli and foreign archaeological expeditions in Israel. Major activities undertaken by the IES include organizing excavations, enlisting financial support for archaeological projects, publishing excavation reports and liaison and cooperation with Israeli and foreign institutions in the field of publication and in a collective effort to promote the cause of archaeology.[citation needed]

The IES is a non-profit organization governed by an executive committee and a Council comprising representatives from all of the institutes of archaeology in the Israel and several major archaeological museums.[citation needed]


The society was founded in April 1913, with David Yellin as president and A. Brawer as secretary.[2] It was called "The Jewish Society for the Exploration of Eretz-Israel and its Antiquities" in Hebrew and the "Jewish Palestine Exploration Society" in English.[2] Due to the advent of WWII and other reasons, the society folded without conducting any excavations or publishing any reports.[2] In November 1920, the same group of people founded the society again, changing "Jewish" to "Hebrew" in its Hebrew name but keeping the English name.[2]

During the period of the British Mandate, the society was responsible for the first archaeological excavations ever conducted by a Jewish organization in Palestine, at Hamat Tiberias, where Nahum Slouschz discovered a Late Roman to Byzantine-period synagogue.[3][4] Other digs were carried out at Absalom's Tomb, around Jerusalem's Old City walls, Ramat Rachel, Beit She'arim and Tel Bet Yerah.[2]

Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the IES received the first excavation permit issued by the Israeli government allowing it to excavate at Tell Qasile. Since then, the IES has organised and sponsored some of the most important archaeological projects carried out in the country including Tel Hazor, Masada, the excavations in Jerusalem near the Temple Mount, in the Jewish Quarter, and at the City of David, the Judean Desert Expeditions, En-Gedi, Tel Arad, Lachish, Aphek, Jericho, Herodium, Yoqneam, Dor and Tel Megiddo.[citation needed]

IES is a public organization whose work consists of the organization and sponsoring of archaeological projects, publication of periodicals and excavation reports, and the running of professional conferences.[2]

Conferences and publications

Annual meetings

The IES, in cooperation with other institutions, has held thirty[when?] annual meetings for the professional archaeological community in Israel.[citation needed]

Fifty-nine[when?] archaeological conferences have been held for members of the IES. These annual gatherings include lectures by archaeologists and guided tours of recently discovered sites.[citation needed]

Congresses, published proceedings

  • Biblical archaeology: two international congresses on were held on the topic in 1984 and 1990, attracting hundreds of participants from around the world. The proceedings of both have been published in two volumes entitled Biblical Archaeology Today.[citation needed]
  • Dead Sea scrolls: in 1997, an international congress was held in Jerusalem marking 50 years since the discovery of the DSS. The proceedings appear in the volume The Dead Sea Scrolls Fifty Years after their Discovery.[citation needed]

Book publications (selection)

Periodicals and Series

  • Qobez was a Hebrew periodical published first in 1921.[2]
  • Israel Exploration Journal (English, semi-annual)
  • Qadmoniot: A Journal for the Antiquities of Eretz-Israel and Bible (Hebrew quarterly), published by IES together with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).[6] Initiated in 1968 by Yigael Yadin and Joseph Aviram as a Hebrew-language popular journal of archaeology and ancient history of the Land of Israel, it had Yadin as chief editor until 1978, when Ephraim Stern took over (1978-1994, 1998–2018). As of 2018, it was considered to be the main Hebrew-language archaeological journal.[7]
  • Eretz-Israel: Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Studies (Hebrew and English), festschrift series publishing original studies in honor of leading international scholars. Twenty-seven[when?] volumes have appeared to date.[citation needed]


In 1989, the Israel Exploration Society was awarded the Israel Prize for its special contribution to society and the State of Israel.[8] The citation of the judges’ committee notes: "It has been the principal and most effective institution for furthering knowledge of the archaeology and history of the country both at home and abroad since it was founded seventy-five years ago."

See also


  1. ^ Israel Exploration Society / About. "The Israel Exploration Society is a scientific organization founded in April 1913, as part of the pre-statehood Zionist activity of the Jewish yishuv in the Land of Israel. The society was established by a group of scholars engaged in the study of the Land of Israel together with leaders of the Jewish yishuv. At its inception the society was named the Jewish Palestine Exploration Society." [1]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Ronny Reich (2011). "The Israel Exploration Society (IES)". In Katharina Galor and Gideon Avni (ed.). Unearthing Jerusalem. Eisenbrauns. pp. 117–124. ISBN 978-1-57506-223-5.
  3. ^ N. Slouschz, "Additional Notes on the Excavations at the Springs of Tiberias," Journal of the Jewish Palestine Exploration Society I/2-4 (1922-24): 49-51, Fig. 12 [Hebrew].
  4. ^ Martin Goodman, Jeremy Cohen, David Jan Sorkin (2005). The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies. Oxford University Press, p. 826.
  5. ^ Bibliography of Seymour Gitin—Update, De Gruyter. Accessed 17 July 2021.
  6. ^ [ Qadmoniot on homepage of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Accessed 17 July 2021.
  7. ^ Ussishkin, David (2018). "Ephraim Stern (1934-2018)". Israel Exploration Journal - Ephraim Stern Memorial Volume. IES. 68 (1). Retrieved 17 July 2021 – via website of the Hebrew University's Institute of Archaeology.
  8. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site - Recipients in 1989 (in Hebrew)".
{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Israel Exploration Society
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?