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Felicity Cobbing on Palestine: Archaeology & Architecture of the West Bank

posted on 14/10/16

Palestine is a part of the world of which I am very fond. I love the people, the history, the culture and the landscape: for such a tiny part of the world it packs a seriously powerful punch. It has been the theatre for some of the most important milestones of human history from the Neolithic revolution 10,000 years ago, which saw the development of farming, to the invention of the alphabet and the emergence of the three great Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

This is a wonderful opportunity to see a part of the world usually only experienced by many of us in the West through distant news reports. Our itinerary takes in archaeological and religious sites in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jericho, Hebron and Samaria. As well as the specialist archaeologists and curators who know these places intimately, we meet the likes of Priest Hosni Cohen, elder of the Samaritan community on Mount Gerizim, and Laila Slemiah, who runs the women’s cooperative in Hebron.

Palestine’s reputation for hospitality is deservedly legendary and, although not known for its peace and tranquility, tourists and other visitors are safe here. The country is about so much more than the ongoing conflict and the headlines it generates. Organised tour holidays are not to everyone’s taste, but there is no doubt in my mind that they provide more of an opportunity to get under the skin of a country than is possible for an independent traveller, particularly for a relatively short first visit. I look forward to introducing the next Martin Randall group to a country full of hope and talent, as well as some of the most beautiful and significant historic sites on the West Bank.

– Felicity Cobbing, Executive and Curator of the Palestine Exploration Fund in London.

Felicity has excavated in Jordan with the British Museum, and worked throughout the Middle East, particularly Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. She is widely published on the archaeology and the history of archaeology in the Levant.


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