The American Colony and Eric Matson Collection:

Southern Palestine

Founded in 1881 by Horatio Spafford (author of the famous hymn, It is Well With My Soul), the American Colony in Jerusalem operated a thriving photographic enterprise for almost four decades. Their images document the land and its people, with a special emphasis on biblical and archaeological sites, inspirational scenes, and historic events. One of the photographers, G. Eric Matson, inherited the archive, adding to it his own later work through the “Matson Photo Service.” He eventually donated all the negatives to the U.S. Library of Congress, which has made them available to the public.

This volume includes more than 550 selected photographs of sites and scenes south of Jerusalem, including Bethlehem, Hebron, the Shephelah, Tell Beit Mirsim, the Judean wilderness, Jericho, the Jordan River, the Dead Sea, Masada, Qumran, and the Negev. All of the images are included in pre-made PowerPoint® files for quick and easy use, as well as in high-resolution jpg format, suitable for projecting or printing. Quotations from 19th-century travelers give additional context to the photographs.

Free: Download the Bethlehem PowerPoint file.

About the Producer: Dr. Todd Bolen is a Professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s University. He lived and taught for many years at their campus near Jerusalem. He is the producer of more than 45 volumes of photographs illustrating the biblical world, including the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands and the Photo Companion to the Bible.

Cost: $25 $20 (free shipping in the U.S.)

Or buy the complete 8-volume set for $189 $99

Guarantee: You will be satisfied or your money will be refunded.

List of Photographs in the Volume


Bethlehem, Church of the Nativity.ppt


Dead Sea, Mining Operations.ppt

Dead Sea, Qumran and En Gedi.ppt

Dead Sea, Western Side.ppt



Jordan River.ppt

Judean Hill Country.ppt

Lod and Ramle.ppt



Philistine Cities.ppt

Shephelah, Beth Guvrin.ppt

Shephelah, Beth Shemesh.ppt

Shephelah, Tell Beit Mirsim.ppt


Solomon's Pools.ppt



Beit Jala

Bethlehem from Church of Nativity

Bethlehem from south, man drawing water at well

Bethlehem from southwest with camel

Bethlehem from southwest with sheep

Bethlehem from southwest

Bethlehem marketplace

Bethlehem Shepherds' Field and Herodium

Bethlehem Shepherds' Field, grotto

Bethlehem Shepherds' Fields

Bethlehem street

Bethlehem well, animals being watered

Bethlehem with Herodium in distance

Bethlehem, camel rider approaching in twilight

Bethlehem, Christmas Day, shepherd with sheep

Bethlehem, Church of Nativity under snow

Bethlehem, country roadway near city

Bethlehem, courtyard of old home

Bethlehem, distant view from southwest

Bethlehem, Field of Boaz, sheep in harvested fields

Bethlehem, gate

Bethlehem, general view from southwest

Bethlehem, general view

Bethlehem, home in oldest part of town

Bethlehem, home partly in cave

Bethlehem, main street

Jordan River, flooding near Allenby Bridge

Bethlehem, man on donkey

Bethlehem, market in front of church at night

Bethlehem, Milk Grotto

Bethlehem, Nativity Church, and Herodium from belfry

Bethlehem, parents and baby

Bethlehem, Rachel's Tomb

Bethlehem, Rachel's Tomb, on road near Bethlehem

Bethlehem, shepherd with flock

Bethlehem, shepherds and flocks in foreground

Bethlehem, shepherds with flock

Bethlehem, showing Church of Nativity

Bethlehem, street in oldest part of town

Bethlehem, sunlit street of old homes

Bethlehem, Swedish hospital, Beit Jala in distance

Bethlehem, Well of David

Bethlehem, Well of Magi

Bethlehem, well that David longed for

Caravan route to Bethlehem, suggestive of wise men

Fields of Boaz, reaper in fields

Mountain path to Bethlehem

Native home near Bethlehem

Olive groves near Bethlehem

Shepherds' Fields, flock with Bethlehem in distance

Threshing floor near Fields of Boaz, grain piles

Vineyards and olive groves near Bethlehem

Winnowing near Bethlehem, story of Ruth and Boaz

Bethlehem, Church of the Nativity

Bethlehem, Basilica and Church of St Catherine

Bethlehem, Christmas Day

Bethlehem, Christmas religious procession

Bethlehem, Church of St Catherine

Bethlehem, St Jerome's Tree

Church of Nativity with British and French guards

Church of Nativity with military sandbags

Church of Nativity, Armenian altar

Church of Nativity, British guard of church

Church of Nativity, carved ornaments on wooden door

Church of Nativity, cell where Jerome translated

Church of Nativity, Christmas Eve service

Church of Nativity, Christmas service

Church of Nativity, colonnade

Church of Nativity, courtyard

Church of Nativity, enormous lock of church

Church of Nativity, entrance

Church of Nativity, excavation of Byzantine mosaic

Church of Nativity, guard in Grotto

Church of Nativity, interior looking west

Church of Nativity, interior with descent to Grotto

Church of Nativity, interior with shafts of light

Church of Nativity, interior

Church of Nativity, iron door of church

Church of Nativity, light shafts encircling pillars

Church of Nativity, manger

Church of Nativity

Church of Nativity, mosaic floor

Church of Nativity, mosaic resembling swastikas

Church of Nativity, with barrel of blessed water

Dead Sea, Mining Operations

Dead Sea and Kallia Hotel composite

Dead Sea, aerial view

Dead Sea, collecting salt from lagoon

Dead Sea, Kallia Hotel lounge looking toward lobby

Dead Sea, Kallia Hotel, southern terrace, top floor

Bethlehem marketplace

Dead Sea, lagoon for collecting salt

Dead Sea, loading donkeys with salt

Kallia Marine Airport at Dead Sea, sign

Palestine Potash camp, night

Palestine Potash panorama, looking north

Palestine Potash panorama, looking southeast

Palestine Potash, carnalite pans, Sodom Mountain

Palestine Potash, evaporating pans

Palestine Potash, from above

Palestine Potash, general view

Palestine Potash

Palestine Potash, petrified forest effect in carnallite

Palestine Potash, power house and pumping station

Palestine Potash, salt formations

Palestine Potash, snow drift effect in evaporating pan

Dead Sea, Qumran and En Gedi

Dead Sea Scrolls, Habakkuk commentary

Dead Sea Scrolls, War Scroll

Ein Feshka spring

En Gedi from sea

En Gedi looking south

En Gedi, looking east

En Gedi, looking north

En Gedi, rugged pass

En Gedi, sunrise

En Gedi, upper spring

Qumran Cave 4, looking out entrance

Qumran excavations, general view looking east

Qumran excavations, looking west to Judean Hills

Dead Sea, Western Shore

Dead Sea from cave

Dead Sea from Masada

Dead Sea from shore, sunrise over Mount Nebo

Dead Sea sunrise from Mount Sodom

Dead Sea with Lisan between En Gedi and Masada

Dead Sea, cliffs on shoreline

Dead Sea, dock

Dead Sea, estuary of Jordan River

Dead Sea, man floating with umbrella

Kallia Marine Airport at Dead Sea

Dead Sea, mouth of Jordan River

Dead Sea, mouth of Jordan, designs of dry mud

Dead Sea, mouth of wadi on western side

Dead Sea, north end, boats and buildings

Dead Sea, north end, shipping

Dead Sea, palm trees killed by water

Dead Sea, Ras el Feshkha

Dead Sea, sail boat, view to southwest

Dead Sea, sail boats

Dead Sea, south end from heights of Sodom Mountain

Dead Sea, southern end from shore of Sodom Mountain

Dead Sea, sunrise over mountains

Dead Sea, wadi on western shore

Flock of sheep in wilderness, view toward Dead Sea

Formations near Dead Sea

Judean wilderness and Dead Sea from west

Marl formations near Masada

Marl formations near view

Sodom Mountain from north

Sodom Mountain showing salt slabs

Sodom Mountain, cave and appearance of gateway

Sodom Mountain, cave with salt stalactites

Sodom Mountain, colossal salt slabs

Sodom Mountain, entrance to caves

Sodom Mountain, great shaft

Sodom Mountain, Pillar of Salt silhouette

Sodom Mountain, Pillar of Salt

Sodom Mountain, precipitous cliffs of solid rocksalt

Sodom Mountain, rock salt formations and Dead Sea

Sodom Mountain, salt formations resembling coral

Sodom Mountain, salt stalactites in cave

Sodom Mountain, view looking out from cave

Sodom Mountain, wave like formations

Specimens of salt from Sodom Mountain


Hebron from east

Hebron from south

Hebron from west

Hebron hospital from west

Hebron, Abraham's Oak

Hebron, ancient upper pool

Hebron, cemetery on Friday

Hebron, David's Pool

Hebron, Machpelah enclosure, basilica and minaret

Hebron, Machpelah enclosure, west facade

Hebron, Machpelah, cave access with cupola

Hebron, Machpelah, cenotaph of Abraham

Dead Sea with sunrise over Mount Nebo

Hebron, Machpelah, cenotaph of Isaac

Hebron, Machpelah, cenotaph of Joseph

Hebron, Machpelah, cenotaph of Sarah

Hebron, Machpelah, closed entrance to cave

Hebron, Machpelah, details of Fatimid pulpit

Hebron, Machpelah, doorway

Hebron, Machpelah, Fatimid pulpit with mihrab

Hebron, Machpelah, Herodian pilastered walls detail

Hebron, Machpelah, inner entrance with large stones

Hebron, Machpelah

Hebron, Machpelah, mihrab prayer niche

Hebron, Machpelah, monument over cave entrance

Hebron, Machpelah, mosaics in prayer niche

Hebron, Machpelah, tomb of Joseph

Hebron, Machpelah, tombs of Jacob and Leah domes

Hebron, tanning skins for water bottles

Hebron, water carriers at David's Pool

Hebron, water skin tannery

Mamre, Ramet el Khalil, Herodian wall encircling ruins

Mamre, Ramet el Khalil, recent excavations

Mamre, Ramet el Khalil, stones with Byzantine inscription


Bedouin camp in Valley of Achor near Jericho

Gilgal, Jiljul

Jericho excavation, city wall, Mount of Temptation

Jericho plain, general view

Jericho, Elisha's fountain and mill

Hebron, David's pool

Jericho, Elisha's fountain and Mount of Temptation

Jericho, Elisha's fountain

Jericho, excavations of tell northern end from east

Jericho, excavations of tell

Jericho, Hisham's palace, east gate of palace

Jericho, Hisham's palace, general view east

Jericho, Hisham's palace, looking nw showing baths

Jericho, Middle Bronze rampart, northern end of tell

Jericho, modern city from south

Jericho, modern city with Jordan Hotel

Jericho, ruins and Mount of Temptation

Jericho, ruins of Crusader sugar mills

Jericho, tell from west

Jordan Valley from Monastery of Quarantana

Mount of Temptation

Palm plantation in Jordan Valley

Valley of Achor, Bedouin tent

Valley of Achor

View from Mount of Temptation

Wilderness of Judea, Mt of Temptation, aerial view

Jordan River

Allenby Bridge over Jordan River

Allenby Bridge under test

Allenby Bridge, under construction

Allenby Bridge, with car

Beth Hogla, Kasr el Hajla

Convent of St John near Jordan

Ferry boat across Jordan River

Formations near Jordan River

Jordan River flooding

Jordan River from Allenby bridge

Jordan River showing eastern bank

Jordan River with Allenby Bridge

Jordan River with men in car

Jordan River with Turkish Ghoraniyeh bridge

Jordan River, aerial view of bend

Jordan River, aerial view

Jordan River, Allenby Bridge guard house in flood

Jordan River, Ceremony of Epiphany preparations

Jordan River, Ceremony of Epiphany with Russian pilgrims

Jordan River, Ceremony of Epiphany

Jordan River, choked with debris

Jordan River, flood covering area by Allenby Bridge closeup

Jordan River, flood covering area by Allenby Bridge

Jordan River, flooding far above banks

Jordan River, looking down stream

Jordan River, looking up river

Jordan River, man and woman swimming

Jordan River

Jordan River, men with sandbags

Jordan River, south of Sheik Hussein bridge

Jordan River, traditional site of Christ's baptism

Temporary British suspension bridge over Jordan River

Judean Hill Country

Abu Gosh, Church of Apparition in Deir el Azhar

Abu Gosh, Crusader church from northwest

Abu Gosh, Crusader church interior

Abu Gosh, Crusader church, north entrance

Abu Gosh

Abu Gosh, ruins of Crusader church

Bethar spring


Carmel, south of Hebron

Jericho, Middle Bronze rampart

Dahariyeh village

Deir Yassin trenches and approach to Jerusalem, 1917

Deir Yassin trenches and Kolonia Road

Deir Yassin trenches

Dolmen on way to En Kerem

Ein Kerem and Latin convent

Ein Kerem from Franciscan tower

Ein Kerem from north

Ein Kerem from west

Ein Kerem

Ein Kerem, minaret

Ein Kerem, native village

Ein Kerem, view of Sisters of Zion Convent

Ein Kerem, wine press

El Qubeibeh from west with Nebi Samwil

El Qubeibeh, Emmaus, construction of Cleopas church

El Qubeibeh, Franciscan church, interior

El Qubeibeh, German hospice from garden

El Qubeibeh, possible Emmaus, from southeast

El-Qubeibeh, possible Emmaus, Church of Cleopas

El-Qubeibeh, possible Emmaus, from southwest

En Kerem, Church of Elizabeth's Visitation

Kiriath Anavim, Dilb dairy colony near Jerusalem

Mar Elias, Greek monastery

Mar Elias, well

Roman road to Bet Guvrin

Samson's cave

St John in Wilderness, Ain Habis, church

Wadi Ali, entrance to Judean Hills

Weli at Bab el Wad

Lod and Ramle

Lod and Church of St. George

Lod, Church of St. George interior

Lod, general view

Lod, reputed home of St George and dragon

Lydda Airport building in construction

Lydda Airport, Haniball plane from top of building

Lydda Airport, landing ground from top of hanger

Lydda Airport, landing of KLM plane

Lydda Airport, model

Lydda Airport, runways with aneilon

Ramle from tower

Ramle, cactus hedges and tower

Ramle, general view


Ramle, Tower of Forty Martyrs

Ramle, view from east

Ramle, view from tower


Masada from east

Masada from east, reflected in water

Masada from north with Roman ramp

Masada from northeast

Masada, Byzantine church ruins

Masada, northern palace with view north

Masada, Roman camp of Flavius Silva

Masada, Roman camps and Dead Sea

Masada, Roman siege ramp

Masada, standing gateway

Masada, storehouses

Masada, western side with Roman ramp



Bartering at Beersheba

Beersheba, general view

Beersheba, main street

Roman road to Bet Guvrin


Beersheba, old well

Elusa, well

Mampsis view

Nessana, Hafir el Auja

Nessana, ruins at church

Tell el-Farah South, excavation

Tell el-Farah South, general view

Tell el-Farah South, men viewing excavation

Tell Jemmeh from west

Tell Jemmeh, excavated area, southern end of mound

Tell Jemmeh, excavations

Tell Jemmeh

Tell Jemmeh, remains of ancient mud brick ramparts

Tell Jemmeh, ruins

Philistine Cities

Ashdod, houses and inhabitants

Ashdod, ruins

Ashkelon, base of column and lintel being extracted

Ashkelon, commissioner Samuel opening excavations, 1920

Ashkelon, commissioner Samuel viewing ruins

Ashkelon, general view

Ashkelon, Greco-Roman artifacts

Ashkelon, group among ruins

Ashkelon, marble statue unearthed

Ashkelon, remains of city wall

Ashkelon, ruins

Coastal plain from heights of Saris, looking west


Gaza, from west

Gaza, Great Mosque and view

Gaza, Great Mosque from east


Gaza, ruined mosque

Gaza, ruins

Jebel Muntar near Gaza

Rafah, Egypt and Palestine ancient boundary line


Aijalon Valley and Beth Horon

Aijalon Valley from Lower Beth Horon

Aijalon Valley

Amwas village, possible Emmaus

Amwas, ruins of Crusader church

Beersheba, general view

Azekah, Tell Zacharia

Elah Valley and Azekah from southeast

Elah Valley and Socoh

Elah Valley, general view

Gezer, Abu Shusheh, distant view with camel

Gezer, Alan Rowe's excavations

Lachish, Tell Duweir, excavations of revetment

Lachish, Tell Duweir

Modiin, distant view

Modiin, Maccabean tombs

Shephelah from Beit Jamal

Zorah, tomb of Samson

Shephelah, Beth Guvrin

Beth Guvrin, antechamber of Sidonian tomb

Beth Guvrin, bell cave

Beth Guvrin, cave dwelling of gunpowder makers

Beth Guvrin, columbarium

Beth Guvrin, loculi in main chamber of Sidonian tomb

Beth Guvrin, mosaic floor

Beth Guvrin, mosaic of gazelle

Beth Guvrin, mosaic of tethered horse

Beth Guvrin, rolling stone door with cross

Beth Guvrin, ruins of church

Beth Guvrin, Sidonian tomb after cleaning

Beth Guvrin, Sidonian tomb main chamber

Beth Guvrin, Sidonian tomb with wall paintings

Beth Guvrin, staircase in cave

Tell Sandahanna, biblical Maresha

Shephelah, Beth Shemesh

Beth Shemesh excavations, broken pottery

Beth Shemesh excavations, close up of burned strata

Beth Shemesh excavations, dump

Beth Shemesh excavations, dumps, basket women

Beth Shemesh excavations

Beth Shemesh excavations, view to northeast

Beth Shemesh from south

Beth Shemesh from southwest

Beth Shemesh from west with wheat field

Beth Shemesh, from hills of Beit Jamal

Beth Shemesh, ruins

Beth Shemesh, section of excavated area, workers

Lachish, Tell Duweir

Beth Shemesh, section of n wall with Sorek Valley

Shephelah, Tell Beit Mirsim

Tell Beit Mirsim excavations

Tell Beit Mirsim, city wall fourteen feet thick

Tell Beit Mirsim, collection of precious potsherds

Tell Beit Mirsim, dishes with mutton and rice

Tell Beit Mirsim, east shrine of high place

Tell Beit Mirsim, entrance to west gate

Tell Beit Mirsim, excavating fortress at west gate

Tell Beit Mirsim, excavating house at east gate

Tell Beit Mirsim, great closing dinner

Tell Beit Mirsim, great east gate

Tell Beit Mirsim, high place later used for dyework

Tell Beit Mirsim, looking south from tell

Tell Beit Mirsim, Lower Springs

Tell Beit Mirsim

Tell Beit Mirsim, remains of houses at east gate

Tell Beit Mirsim, revetment, south wall

Tell Beit Mirsim, view of Wadi el Butmeh

Tell Beit Mirsim, workmen waiting for closing feast

Solomon's Pools

Artas, Arab village near Etam and Solomon's Pools

Artas, convent

Ein Arrub, cleaning out spring

Ein Arrub, course of aqueduct

Ein Arrub, filling reservoir

Ein Arrub, pumps at work

Ein Arrub, reservoir

Ein Arrub, waterworks

Tell Beit Mirsim excavation

Roman aqueduct from Solomon's Pools to Jerusalem

Solomon's Pools from west

Solomon's Pools, eastern pool

Solomon's Pools, forking of Wadi Biyyar aqueduct

Solomon's Pools, general view from northeast

Solomon's Pools, inflow of aqueduct into upper pool

Solomon's Pools, lower pool from east

Solomon's Pools, middle pool from south

Solomon's Pools, one of Wadi Biyyar aqueduct tunnels

Solomon's Pools, open section of aqueduct

Solomon's Pools, pumping station

Solomon's Pools, section of Arrub aqueduct

Solomon's Pools, section of Ein Attah aqueduct

Solomon's Pools, Wadi Biyyar, section above dam


Apostles' Fountain

Chariton cave area

Ein Farah gorge

Ein Farah pumping station

Ein Farah waterworks

Ein Fawwar, spring in Wadi Qilt

Good Samaritan inn on road to Jericho


Herodium, ruins on summit

Jericho road descending from Bethany, aerial

Jericho Road near Nebi Musa, Wadi K'taif

Jericho Road with pilgrims

Jericho road, sea level

Judean Wilderness from north

Mar Saba and Nahal Kidron

Mar Saba, belfry with buttresses on south side

Mar Saba, convent courtyard

Solomon's Pools from west

Mar Saba, doorway with monk

Mar Saba, inside monastery

Mar Saba

Nahal Darga, looking west

Nahal Kidron near Mar Saba

Nebi Musa, general view

Nebi Musa, interior with crowds

Nebi Musa, pilgrims gathering

Road from Jerusalem to Jericho


Valley of Hyenas

Wadi En Nar, mouth of Kidron

Wadi Farah, looking up valley westward

Wadi Qilt with pool of water

Wadi Qilt with St George's monastery

Wadi Qilt

Wilderness and Dead Sea from Nebi Musa

Wilderness and Mt of Olives from Good Samaritan inn

Wilderness and Transjordan from Mt of Olives

Wilderness from Mount of Olives

Wilderness of Tekoa

Flock of sheep in Judean wilderness