Weekly Reports from Jordan

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Madaba and Elsewhere in Jordan


30 June 2013

Madaba Museum - floor plan• Traveled with David Wuchenich and Huda Kilani, who directs the museums department of the Department of Antiquities, and who is our DoA representative for the five days of our subsurface mapping season this year. In her capacity of working with museums in the country, she is anxious to work with us on a project begun years ago, but stymied a couple of times. Some of us have been asked to renovate the Madaba Museum which stores and displays artifacts from excavations around the Madaba area, one of those jobs which demands a good deal of money and dedicated time. Our first attempt resulted in ca. $200,000 dollars from USAID, which unfortunately got lost in the bureaucracy of one of Jordan’s many ministries. Madaba Museum - one of external display areasSomething untoward happened to that money, and we never saw a penny. The second attempt failed because of changes in the Department of Antiquities and waning energy to pursue it. But now, with help from the enthusiasm of Huda, and the expertise and support of Maysa Hashateet in charge of projects at Siyaha, we have prepared a new funding proposal, this time for over $150,000 to USAID and hope to see something come of it so that the museum can be upgraded and can become a destination for visitors who visit Madaba to see the Church of the Mosaic Map. We will see where this takes us in our hopes to preserve and present the cultural heritage of the Madaba region.

Elsewhere in Jordan

29 June 2013

• Made some visits during the morning hours, along with David, to Tall al-`Umayri for a grand tour, and then in the evening when temperatures cool and sunlight sweetens we took a short trip to Iraq al-Amir, an intriguing palace(?) fortress(?) palace/fortress(?) from the Hellenistic (Greek) Period. Its setting in the lush Wadi Seir, green with fruit trees and vineyards, the steep mountain slopes glowing with soft yellow late-afternoon sunlight, along with the structure’s spectacular lion/lioness carvings in the architecture of the building, once surrounded by a magical reflection pool – all of this made for an enchanting visit. Add to that a stop by nearby caves to find the name of Tobiah inscribed on the entrance of two of the caves – Tobiah is a Hebrew name that means “The Lord (Yahweh) is Good.” But here he and his descendants are in Ammonite territory. Makes sense when one reads the book of Nehemiah to discover that Tobiah the Ammonite joined forces with Sanballat the Samaritan and Geshem the Arab in resisting the rebuilding of defensive walls around Jerusalem. He is called “Abad” the servant, as is the palace.

Inside Iraq al-Amir The name "Tobiah" near cave entrance

Petra trip

6-7 July 2013

Gary, Danielle, and David WuchenichTraveled with Danielle, Gary, and David Wuchenich to everyone’s destination stop in Jordan and, for some, the main reason for visiting the country – “the rose-red city, half as old as time” – Petra. We were only stopped by the police twice on this trip, so that they could wave us on through without any problems. And we stayed at the Petra Guest House, 150 steps from the gate leading into Petra. We visited the major sites of the Treasury, the High Place, the Roman cardo (central roadway) with its temples, the Monastery, the churches. While in central Petra, we encountered a group of 50 on tour from Walla Walla University. I had worked with the two teachers leading the tour and David knew several of the students from Loma Linda Academy days.

Petra Guest House hotel near Petra entrance

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