Neither progress with the US on the settlement issue nor being called a "courageous leader" by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown excited Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in London Tuesday as much as a visit to the offices of the Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF). Netanyahu, who mentioned the visit during his press conference with Brown, waxed poetic about it at a briefing with Israeli reporters, enthusing over the organization's collection of maps, pictures and documents of Palestine dating back to the mid-19th century. "This is a treasure, it is something you all must see," he told reporters, as he kept returning to the subject and talking about the archival information there, and about the knowledge of the geography and topography of pre-state Israel housed in that building. The PEF was founded in 1865 and is the oldest organization in the world created specifically for the study of the Levant, the southern portion of which - as the organization's literature makes clear - was conventionally known as "Palestine." The organization publishes an internationally respected journal, the Palestine Exploration Quarterly, and brings the latest archaeological findings and research to the public in a series of regular lectures. The PEF archives houses some 40,000 photographs of Palestine, Jordan and Syria dating as far back as 1850, and also includes archaeological artifacts, natural history specimens, maps, manuscripts and paintings. The PEF was founded under the patronage of Queen Victoria in 1865 by a group of distinguished academics and clergymen, most notably the dean of Westminster Abbey, to promote research into the archaeology and history, manners, customs and culture, topography, geology and natural sciences of biblical Palestine and the Levant. Figures associated with the PEF include Charles Wilson and Charles Warren, who carried out key excavations and land surveys in Jerusalem and Palestine in the 19th century.