The Umm el-Jimal Project and Open Hand Studios joined archaeologists, scholars, and government officials from a variety of universities and agencies across the globe to share the work we’ve done in site conservation and community engagement at the 2015 Protecting the Past Conference. With threats to archaeology sites, and the living communities related to them, increasing across the Middle East, archaeologists’ responses are more urgent than ever.
The event was held from September 28-30, 2015, at the Jordan National Museum in central Amman, Jordan, and kicked off with a site visit to Umm el-Jimal led by Bert de Vries. Organized by Oxford University’s Endangered Archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA) working group, we shared lessons learned from Umm el-Jimal, which emphasize community-based partnerships as a key to long-term site preservation. During the conference Bert de Vries chaired a special session on the site titled “Umm el-Jimal: A Success Story?” In addition to presentations by staff from our partners UNESCO and SCHEP, project archaeologists Muaffaq Hazza presented “Ancient Umm el-Jimal as Seen by the Modern Community” and Paul Christians presented “Rethinking Community and Sustainability in Long-Term Site Management Planning at Umm el-Jimal.”