John Henry "Harry" Iliffe

Untitled (JH Iliffe)

Untitled (JH Iliffe),


JH “Harry” Iliffe OBE FSA read Classics at the University of Cambridge (Emmanuel College), graduating in 1923. In 1924, he was a student at the British School in Athens, and in 1927 moved to Canada to work at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. While there, he married Marjorie Vincent.

In 1931, Iliffe was appointed as the first Keeper of the new Palestine Archaeological Museum in Jerusalem. In this role he was responsible for overseeing the final stages of building construction, the cataloguing of the Museum’s growing collections, and the curation of its first displays about the Stone and Bronze Ages in Palestine. Iliffe was also responsible for both visiting excavation sites across Palestine and for making representative selections from their finds to be housed in the Museum. He is described as always being ‘on the best of terms’ with his archaeological colleagues.

In 1939, Iliffe was shot and severely wounded outside his home in Jerusalem by an ‘unknown Arab’, one in a series of attacks on British officials that took place during the Great Arab Revolt (1936-39), in protest over British colonial policies.

From 1944-46, Iliffe served as Assistant British Resident to Transjordan. In 1948, he left Palestine due to the end of the Mandate, and then took up a post as Director of the Liverpool Museum. He died in 1960 after a long illness.

A Short Guide to the Exhibition Illustrating the Stone and Bronze Ages in Palestine

A Short Guide to the Exhibition Illustrating the Stone and Bronze Ages in Palestine,


A copy of JH Iliffe's original guide to the exhibitions of the South Gallery, published in 1937 for the opening of the Palestine Archaeological Museum in 1938. The North Gallery was not completed until several years later.

John Henry "Harry" Iliffe