Research

CBRL awards funding and research support each year following its strategic plan for research. Awards are given according to specific research themes and priorities. In addition, CBRL has one major strategic research initiative, Exploring Identities in the Levant, which combines elements from many of CBRL's key research themes.

Some of our own research is directly funded by the British Academy. Recent projects have included:

  • "Higher Education and Political Change in the Arab World: What Role for the Social Sciences?" 
  • "Twenty years of the 'Oslo peace paradigm': an assessment of its achievements and limitations"
  • "The Deep Past as a Social Asset in the Levant".

British Academy funding has enabled us to employ a series of post-doctoral research staff on these projects, including:

  • Dr Francesca Burke on the Higher Education project, which has had a regional perspective working in Egypt, Jordan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
  • Dr Mansour Nsasra has worked on the Oslo project, based at the Kenyon Institute. 
  • Dr Oroub el-Abed joined the team at the British Institute in Amman in 2015 to work on the Deep Past project; 

Water, Life and Civilisation

Published: 2011

Water, Life and Civilisation was a major Leverhulme Trust funded project examining the relationships between climate, hydrology and human society in the Jordan Valley over the last 20,000 years and a little way into the future. The project ran from 2004 concluding with a conference at the Royal Society and a major monograph published in 2011 by Cambridge University Press with UNESCO in the International Hydrology Series. The project was based at Reading University under the overall leadership of Prof. Steven Mithen and CBRL was a partner in the research with Prof. Bill Finlayson working as one of the co-PI's in the research. State of the art models were produced to simulate past and future climate, geological evidence was used to reconstruct past environments, and hydrological models developed for the Jordan Valley and associated wadis. Archaeological evidence for water management and human responses to climate and environmental change was reviewed, and research was conducted on how contemporary urban and rural populations manage their water supplies.

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The ‘Deep Past as a Social Asset in the Levant’ (DEEPSAL)

Published: 2016

The DEEPSAL research project examines the relationship between the deep past, as represented by two Neolithic archaeological sites in the south of Jordan, Basta and Beidha, and the way the communities of the villages living close to them are able to value them. The stated objectives of DEEPSAL are to “to examine how Neolithic sites contribute to local communities, to analyze how different factors affect the contribution of this heritage and assess how cultural heritage assets can be mobilised in the future to benefit the communities”. 

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Fallahin and Nomads in the Southern Levant from Byzantium to the Crusades

Fallahin and Nomads in the Southern Levant from Byzantium to the Crusades: Population Dynamics and Artistic Expression

CBRL-Affiliated Project

Between the Palestinian coast and the vast desert of southern Jordan stretches an enormous semi-arid buffer-zone. Bisected by the Rift, the Ghôr depression, this marginal arid zone between the sown and the desert, between the subtropical Mediterranean and the ''continental arid'' climates, was the setting for various modes of interaction between agriculturalists and nomads from the late Byzantine Empire (6th and early 7th centuries AD) to the Mamluk Sultanate (13th–15th centuries): sedentarism, nomadic infiltration, semi-sedentarization, sedentarization, reversal to nomadism, and temporary settling for the servicing of pilgrims on the road to Mecca, the Darb al-Hajj. Using new research tools - Geographical Information System (GIS) - in conjunction with traditional archaeo-historical interpretation of the past, an innovative geo-spatial approach applied to landscape archaeology was introduced in 2008 by archaeologist Claudine Dauphin and GIS expert Mohamed Ben Jeddou in an attempt to capture across ten centuries the diachronic, fluctuating population dynamics of southern Palestine and Jordan, to detect changes at play in the landscape of arable lands and desert, and trace the consequent adaptation of local populations of agriculturalists (fallahin) and nomads (bedu). Originally funded by the Mougins Museum of Classical Art (2010-2013), the Project ''Fallahin and Nomads in the Southern Levant from Byzantium to the Mamluks: Population Dynamics and Artistic Expression'' has enjoyed the support of the Augustus Foundation since 2014. It has been affiliated to the CBRL since 2011. Official permits from the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (DAoJ) have enabled field studies and access to its archaeological archives.

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Khirbat Faris: Rural Settlement, Continuity and Change in Southern Jordan

The rural landscape in Jordan has deep roots and its character – patterns of settlement, land-use, architecture, material culture – is one of the richest parts of the country’s heritage. A project exploring this rural landscape was initiated in the late 1980s under the directorship of Professor Jeremy Johns and Alison McQuitty and sponsored by the British Institute at Amman for Archaeology and History – later CBRL. While interim articles have appeared over the years, the report on the primary evidence is finally coming to fruition: the first of three volumes has just been published by Archaeopress in 2020. This first volume (Khirbat Faris: Rural Settlement, Continuity and Change in Southern Jordan) charts the temporal and spatial occupational fluctuations at the site, as well as suggesting insights into the lives of the communities that called Khirbat Faris “home”. The detailed final excavation report focuses on the stratigraphy, architecture and small-finds, and covers the periods from the 13th century BC to the present day. Current themes of Islamic archaeology are also discussed and specialist contributions by Douglas Baird (flints), Dominique Collon (cylinder seals), Jeremy Johns (coins) and Mouna Khoury (glass) are included.

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