Community Ethnographic Project at ‘Umayri
Madaba Plains Project - Tall al-‘Umayri
CEPU: A History in Jordan
In the years before construction of the Airport Highway outside Amman, the Almari family watered their sheep, goats and camels at the spring at Tall al-‘Umayri. In recent years interest has developed in documenting the contributions the villagers of Bunayat, including members of the Almari family, have made to the ‘Umayri project. They have dug, sifted, broken rocks, cleaned the site, and in some cases, excavated. Seasoned workmen from Bunayat have mentored new workers and volunteers alike. They have demonstrated a deep relationship with the land itself and have shown those of us from outside Jordan what ‘Umayri and its modern people offer to history.
CEPU - A Part of the MPP
In 2012 a group of archaeologists working at ‘Umayri began to explore the history of the Jordanian workmen. They were interested in the family relationships among the workmen as well as their history with the land. Most of the workmen live in the nearby village of Bunayat and represent a tradition of collaboration with the MPP since 1984.
A desire to document the scope of these historic relationships gave birth to CEPU. It is hoped that this project will capture the workmen’s sense of pride in their land and heritage and promote a sense of ownership of the archaeological site.
2016 Goals of CEPU
Documentation will include, as much as possible:
- A photo of each workman from their season(s) of work, as well as updated photos where possible
- Video/Audio interviews with former/current workmen
- Interviews with workmen’s family members about the impact of work on the household
- Create a basic family tree for the workmen (think more on this one-CW thinks recording family relationships between workers)
The Future of CEPU
Future goals will include:
- Development of a bilingual video and/or book on the CEPU results for a public audience
- Display of acquired media in an exhibit to accompany ‘Umayri artifacts
- Formal publication of results as part of the Madaba Plains Project-Tall al-‘Umayri final publications series
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