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Our Past, Our Future, All Together in Faynan

Our Past, Our Future, All Together in Faynan

The Wadi Faynan area in Southern Jordan has been the focus of archaeological inquiry for more than 40 years, with the Wadi Faynan Project established in the 1990s by former CBRL director, Alison McQuitty. Wadi Faynan sits in an amazing landscape, important for the stories it tells about the advent of settled life and farming, copper exploitation, water management, and desertification through time. The extensive Neolithic excavations at Wadi Faynan (WF16) in southern Jordan directed by Profs Steve Mithen (Reading University) and Bill Finlayson have been a key component of CBRL’s activities in recent decades. Last year, this long association culminated in the soft opening of the Faynan MuseumWe’re now thrilled to be partnering on the AHRC funded Newton-Khalidi project, Our Past, Our Future, All Together in Faynan (OPOF), which will develop the museum further.  

(c) Nebras Maslamani

Our Past Our Future will build on the existing research of Wadi Faynan, expanding the museum and developing the opportunity to develop eco-tourism in the area. The project will add exhibits, bridging the history of the region until the post-Ottoman era to the current, showcasing the lives and characters of the community at Wadi Faynan today. 

The grant was awarded to the Archaeology Department at the University of Reading with Prof Steven Mithen as the UK Principle Investigator, with the project starting in February this year. Other members of the team and their participating organisations are Dr Jessica Jacobs (Queen Mary, University of London), Dr Gehan Selim (University of Leeds), Dr Fatima al-Nammari (University of Petra), Dr Fatma Marii (University of Jordan), Samia Khouri (Department of Antiquities of Jordan), and Dr Carol Palmer (CBRL Amman).   

(c) Nebras Maslamani

The project aims to develop the museum to become a social, cultural and educational hub, facilitating interdisciplinary and multi-sector workshops with and for the local community of Wadi Faynan. To connect the community with their heritage, Our Past, Our Future is working to support schools to raise awareness of Wadi Faynan’s cultural heritage, as well as provide educational resources for teachers and students. 

(c) Nebras Maslamani

In March, the first of the workshops took place with community members and teachers from Wadi Faynan to discuss the strategies for local involvement and impact.  A felting workshop followed in June with the women of Faynan and Graygra, who shared local community stories and created felts that will eventually decorate one of the museum walls. 

(c) Nebras Maslamani

The AHRC Newton-Khalidi fund was created in 2018 to create partnerships that foster interdisciplinary research between the UK and Jordan with the objective to bring positive change to the lives of the local Jordanians. With the development of the museum, Our Past Our Future will bring economic growth to the area which in turn to benefit the community at Wadi Faynan. The team hopes that publications from this project will influence policy makers to understand the benefits of conserving and developing cultural heritage to support economic growth.  

To learn more about Our Past, Our Future (OPOF) and follow the future developments, you can find the link to the project’s website here 

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