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Rediscovering Heinrich Kiepert’s visit to Jerash

Summary of stay at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin by Research assistant Eva Mortensen.

The Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin at Unter den Linden, where the Map Department is located (Photo: Eva Mortensen).

The cartographer Heinrich Kiepert from Berlin visited Jerash on a journey east of the Jordan in 1870. He travelled together with his son Richard Kiepert and another young man Paul Langerhans.

These days, I am spending most of my time at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, where a large part of the papers left behind by Heinrich Kiepert is kept. This includes among other things letters, sketchbooks, notes, and maps. At the Map Department I have seen his sketchbook on his journey through Palestine, and at the Manuscript Department I am going through letters and notes, trying to find more information on his visit to Jerash.

This research is undertaken as part of a research project on 19th-century and early 20th-century travellers to Jerash, and a two-volume edited publication is under preparation by the two initiators of the project, Professors Achim Lichtenberger and Rubina Raja. With this visit to Berlin, the entry on Heinrich and Richard Kiepert will be even more exciting and informative. All interested in Kiepert or Jerash can look very much forward to the forthcoming publication with travel accounts, photographs, drawings, and until now unpublished material about the site of Jerash in its early years of exploration: Lichtenberg, A. & R. Raja (eds.) (forthcoming). On the Golden River: Jerash Seen through the Eyes of 19th and 20th Century Travellers, Jerash Papers 2.1 and 2.2 (Turnhout: Brepols).

Thanks to all who have helped me at the different departments of the Staatsbibliothek during my visit.