October 10, 2008

As I mentioned yesterday, tomorrow I am going to Aswan to attend a workshop. This workshop is related to a project I am involved in titled “Quarryscapes”. The European Union funded Quarryscapes project started in 2005 and is now almost finished. Our meeting in Aswan is the final one of this project.

The project is basically an effort to study and raise awareness about ancient quarries in the eastern Mediterranean area. In this context, we in Jordan studied ancient Bronze aged quarries in the Jafr area, Nabatean quarries in Petra and Roman quarries in Jerash. In the upcoming meeting, I will present some of our work in Jerash.

Most people who are impressed by ancient monuments give little thought to where the stones that were used were brought from. When one thinks about it, it is obvious that the sources of stone are integral components of the archaeological context, and helps to understand more on the story of how the site was built.

The presentation I am planning to present on Jerash includes maps of the most important remaining quarry sites, the geological context, the most interesting features and the threats that these sites face. Unfortunately, there is little awareness about this issue, and for the most part, these sites are unprotected. Jordanian law does not extend protection to these quarries. Protection and proper presentation of these sites will add both depth and texture to the tourists’ experience. Moreover, it is an important component of our heritage that we should strive to bequeath to future generations.

The sites show tool marks, evidence of the techniques used for stone extraction, and unfinished columns. In the case of Jerash, there is a striking landscape as well. Here are some pictures that will help explain what I mean.

See you when I get back.


  1. […] I’ll just have to live vicariously through posts like the one above by Nizar over at the Jordan science and engineering blog […]

  2. Dear Dr. Abu-Jaber,
    I was doing some search over the internet on Quarry landscapes and rehabilitation. I came across your blog. I did a small talk about this in 2005 at a local conference and since then I have been interested in the subject. I thought I can benefit from the results of your work to build upon in my research papers. Let’s talk about this some time.

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