Combined Prehistoric Expedition Foundation


The Combined Prehistoric Expedition is among the longest continuing archaeological expeditions in the world. It was founded in 1962 by Dr. Fred Wendorf, Henderson-Morrison Professor Emeritus of Prehistory at Southern Methodist University, who served as its Director until his retirement in 2000. Dr. Romuald Schild, Director Emeritus of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Science, and a colleague of Dr. Wendorf since the CPEF’s inception was the CPEF’s Field Director until 2007, when he retired. Currently, the Expedition’s field research is led by Dr. Jacek Kabacinski of the Institute’s Poznan branch.

The CPEF has conducted exemplary research in the Nile Valley of Egypt and Sudan, the Western Desert of Egypt, the Sinai, and in Ethiopia, resulting in over 30 books and 100 articles and in the election of both Dr. Wendorf and Dr. Schild to the National Academy of Sciences. Until recently, Dr. Schild was the only Polish member of the prestigious American Academy.

Sponsored by SMU, the Polish Academy of Science, and the Geological Survey of Egypt, the CPEF now relies on the Polish Academy and private benefactors for the majority of its funding. The expedition has trained nearly 50 graduate students from SMU and other institutions who are now scholars in universities such as Tulane, Boise State, the University of Arizona, and the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, and it continues to seek qualified students for its unparalleled training in the methodology and theory of prehistory. In recent years, graduate students from American University, the University of Indiana, Tulane University and SMU have traveled to Egypt to conduct research with the Combined Prehistoric Expedition.

The mission of the Combined Prehistoric Expedition Foundation is to advance knowledge of human behavior from the earliest known traces, over two million years ago, until the development of writing that evidently occurred around four thousand years ago. Our goal is to protect the record of this story of human development and the cultural evidence that supports it, wherever found in North Africa.  Learn more »