“Palestine Exploration Fund” (PEF) was established in the mid-19th century in Great Britain. Its official purpose was to research and map the Holy Land, but it also collected intelligence in the region which was then under Ottoman rule. In 1900 PEF member R.A.S. Macalister found a suitable rock at the southern end of Ein Feshkha oasis, which was about 20 ft above the water. With a stonemason from Jericho, he carved a benchmark and the initials of PEF beneath it. The mark was used for measurements until 1913, and later forgotten. Rediscovered by Israeli geographer Ze’ev Vilnay after the Six-day War, It can be seen to this day on the side of road 90, about 2 miles south of Qumran. Today, (2021), the Dead Sea’s shoreline is about 130 feet lower than the PEF mark, and it keeps dropping about 3 feet every year.
A visit to the PEF rock can be combined in a guided day tour of the Dead Sea.