Øystein LaBianca, professor of anthropology and associate director of the Institute of Archaeology at Andrews University, has spent most of the last 50 summers digging for the past at archaeological sites in Jordan. Recently his efforts have led to more and more community engagement, as the local people near the Tall Hisban dig become more invested in the project. In this interview, he talks about the local women who have created a catering business, and more.
Question: You have been very involved in an ongoing archaeological dig in Tall Hisban, Jordan. Getting the local community involved in archaeological sites has been a major focus for you, I believe. Can you tell us how the local community has gotten involved in the dig in Hisban?
First thing, from the very beginning, back in 1968 when Siegfried Horn started the work in Tall Hisban, he made it a point to meet with all the elders of the village and get to know them personally. These elders would come and actually preside over the dig, while their younger relatives, the young men, would come and work. These elders were also present during payday. There was constant interaction with the elders throughout the project.
Source: Spectrum Magazine
AMMAN — Community archaeology is about archaeologists adopting a new mindset — one that takes into account the maintenance and safety challenges that ensue as archaeologists excavate and expose walls and installations from past civilizations to the open air, according to a Norwegian scholar.
Source: Norwegian scholar draws parallel between archaeological sites and botanical gardens
AMMAN — Extensive archaeological sites, including the world-famous mosaic in Madaba, have long made central Jordan a source of fascination and study for experts and tourists from around the world, but experts have grappled with how best to preserve the finds, while also making them accessible to all.
Source: Projected museum in Madaba to ‘conserve, protect Jordan’s past
AMMAN — Community archaeology, a form of archaeology directed by experts to local communities, originated at Tell Hisban during the seventies and eighties, with anthropologists wanting to learn more about traditional Jordanian practices for securing food, water and protection for their households and animals, a Norwegian anthropologist said.
“The initial reason for this interest was as a way to learn more about how large quantities of animal bones became part of the daily bundle of loose finds dug up by archaeologists at the site,” Oystein LaBianca, a professor of anthropology at Andrews University in Michigan, US, told The Jordan Times in a recent e-mail interview.
Source: Community archaeology challenges ‘colonial’ approaches to research — expert
AMMAN — When she visited Jordan for the first time in 1996, Italian architect Maria Elena Ronza described her experience as “mind-blowing”. Coming from La Sapienza University of Rome, Ronza was drawn to the Middle East in general and Jordan in particular for the country’s Roman stone architecture and the adaptation of Roman urban design to existing cities.
Source: Italian-Jordanian architect pushes for community archaeology