Phillips Expedition to the Middle East

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The Phillips Expedition to the Middle East traveled in Egypt and Palestine during March to June of 1914. Led by Dr. John C. Phillips from the Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology, the expedition focused on collecting a wide variety of specimens. The group left Cairo on March 22, 1914 and traveled along the west coast of the Gulf of Suez, through the Sinai Peninsula, and eventually to Jerusalem by way of Akaba. Along the journey, stops and major collecting sites included Wady Feran (Wadi Feiran), St. Catherine’s monastery, Um Shomer mountain, Petra, the Moab plateau, Wady Kerak, and the Dead Sea. The expedition reached the south end of the Dead Sea on May 7, and from there made their way to Jerusalem, arriving on May 15th. Other members on the expedition included entomologist and zoologist William M. Mann, and Harvard professor, William M. Wheeler. Mann, with the help of Phillips, was interested in the collecting of all types of insects and reptiles, while Wheeler was primarily focused on ants of the region. In their spare time, Phillips and Man shifted their focus to trapping mammals and chasing birds. In total, around 90 species of birds were collected, and close to 150 mammal specimens, mostly skins and skulls.


  • Phillips, J. C. (1915). Some Birds from Sinai and Palestine. The Auk, 32(3), 273-289. Retrieved from
  • Wheeler, W. M. and Mann, W. M. (1916). The ants of the Phillips Expedition to Palestine during 1914. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 60(5), 165-174.
  • Allen, Glover M. (1915). Mammals obtained by the Phillips Palestine Expedition. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 59(1), 1-14.

Date Range

1914 - 1914


  • Animals
  • Entomology
  • Birds
  • Mammalogy
  • Ornithology


  • Cairo
  • Wādī al Karak
  • Jerusalem
  • Egypt
  • Petra
  • Palestine
  • Sinai Peninsula
  • Dead Sea


Expedition name