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Project information

Project team

Jutta Faehndrich, Bruno Schelhaas (project management), Heinz Peter Brogiato, Ute Wardenga


Tel-Hai College (Israel), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), Forschungsbibliothek Gotha, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin-Preußischer Kulturbesitz

Duration of project


Funded by

German Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development

Further information

Bruno Schelhaas
Tel.: +49 341 600 55-151

Robinson, van de Velde, and German Holy Land Cartography in the mid-19th Century

German-Israeli research project on Palestine cartography

The aim of this German-Israeli research project was to reconstruct the history of German Palestine cartography in its decisive period between 1830 and 1880. Modern Palestine research, as it evolved over the 19th century, was essentially shaped by German science and scholarly traditions. This proves especially true for European Palestine cartography. A striking example are two of its major protagonists: the US-American biblical scholar and founder of biblical archaeology, Edward Robinson, and the Dutch naval officer, cartographer, and painter Charles William Meredith van de Velde.

Analysing their biographic and intellectual background, their extensive works and reception as well as their close-knit international scholarly network was the primary goal of the project – with a focus on cartographic visualisation. For cartography was essential to both scholars' work and led to a long-term co-operation with such eminent German geographers and cartographers as Carl Ritter, Heinrich Berghaus, Heinrich Kiepert, August Petermann, and others.

Within this scope, the project focused on the social and technical process of mapping and map-making, from fieldwork and measurements to the finished product of the map. It was possible to reconstruct the various scholarly, religious, and geo-political motives of the protagonists. Both the map-making process and the knowledge transfer involved could ultimately be devised into a system of classification and map genealogy and placed within a broader historical context.


Goren, Haim / Faehndrich, Jutta / Schelhaas, Bruno (2017): Mapping the Holy Land. The Foundation of a Scientific Cartography of Palestine. London / New York: I.B. Tauris, 192 S. (Tauris Historical Geography Series; 11)

Goren, Haim (2017): The Historical Emergence of Replication: Reifying Geography through Repeated Surveys. In: Ayalet Shavit / Aaron M. Ellison (Hrsg.): Stepping in the Same River Twice. Replication in Biological Research. New Haven und London: Yale University Press. S. 37-54

Goren, Haim / Schelhaas, Bruno (2015): An early measuring of the Holy City, forgotten for over a century: Westphal's Jerusalem map of 1825. In: Die Erde 146 (1), S. 63-78  Download

Goren, Haim (2014): Edward Robinson – Father of the scientific study of Eretz-Israel. In: Eli Schiller / Gabriel Barkay (Hrsg.): Wonderful Land: Jerusalem and Eretz Israel. Jerusalem, S. 64-74 (Ariel; 206-207) [in Hebräisch]

Goren, Haim / Schelhaas, Bruno (2014): Colonial, Religious and Scientific Mapping. The Cartographic Practice of Charles William Meredith van de Velde. In: García Álvarez, Jacobo / Garcia, João Carlos (Hrsg.): História da geografia e colonialismo / Histoire de la géographie et colonialism / History of geography and colonialism. Lisboa: Centro de Estudos Geográficos da Universidade de Lisboa / International Geographical Union, S. 211-227

Goren, Haim / Schelhaas, Bruno (2014): On an unknown measuring of Jerusalem in 1823. In: Cathedra for the History of Eretz Israel and its Yishuv 153, S. 35-56 [in Hebräisch]

Weigel, Petra / Goren, Haim / Schelhaas, Bruno / Faehndrich, Jutta (Hrsg.) (2014): Das Heilige Land in Gotha. Der Verlag Justus Perthes und die Palästinakartographie im 19. Jahrhundert. Gotha: Universität Erfurt, Forschungsbibliothek Gotha, 149 S. (Veröffentlichungen der Forschungsbibliothek Gotha; 50)

Perthus, Sophie / Faehndrich, Jutta (2013): Visualizing the map-making process: studying 19th century Holy Land cartography with MapAnalyst. In: e-Perimetron 8 (2), S. 60 - 84

Schelhaas, Bruno (2012): Die deutsche Palästinakartographie im 19. Jahrhundert. Internationale Netzwerke der Geovisualisierung. In: Ingrid Kästner / Jürgen Kiefer (Hrsg.): Beschreibung, Vermessung und Visualisierung der Welt. Beiträge der Tagung vom 6. bis 8. Mai 2011 an der Akademie gemeinnütziger Wissenschaften zu Erfurt. Aachen: Shaker, S. 251-264 (Europäische Wissenschaftsbeziehungen; 4)

Goren, Haim (2011): Dead Sea Level. Science, exploration and imperial interest in the Near East. London: I.B. Tauris, 384 S. (Tauris Historical Geography Series)

Goren, Haim (2011): „Der unstreitig beste Kenner des heutigen Jerusalems“. Conrad Schick und sein Werk. In: Haim Goren / Jakob Eisler (Hrsg.): Deutschland und Deutsche in Jerusalem. Eine Konferenz in Mishkenot Sha'ananim, März 2007. Jerusalem: Mishkenot Sha'ananim, S. 80-99

Goren, Haim / Eisler, Jakob (Hrsg.) (2011): Deutschland und Deutsche in Jerusalem. Eine Konferenz in Mishkenot Sha'ananim, März 2007. Jerusalem: Mishkenot Sha'ananim, 395 S.

Kark, Ruth / Goren, Haim (2011): Pioneering British exploration and scriptural geography. The Syrian Society/The Palestine Association. In: The Geographical Journal, 177 (3), S. 264-274