Weekly Reports from Jordan

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Week 3D – Site Visitors

by Douglas Clark, Director; Photos by Jillian Logee

Doug Clark Jillian Logee

The reputation of the Tall al-`Umayri excavations precedes this adventure long before we take to the field. Known and respected widely around the world, the site typically attracts tour groups and scholars, to say nothing of the curious local population wondering why on earth (in the earth?) are they digging up these stones and bones?

While life among countries in Jordan’s rough neighborhood has been challenging to residents, it has also dampened enthusiasm among would-be tourists from coming to the region. So, the flow of visitors was rather underwhelming this season. Even so, Tall al-`Umayri played host to several groups and individuals.

Of course there was, first and foremost, an archaeological team on the premises for six weeks. Except for Talib and his Bedouin tent full of family and belongings along the lower eastern slopes of the tell, no one lives there during the time archaeologists are not present. Weekly Report 3E consists of a photo gallery picturing most dig participants, but here I want to show a group photo and, without identifying everyone in the photo, list all participants. Here they are:

2016 team in a jubilant mood

MPP-`Umayri 2016
Excavation Staff

Foreigners
Betty Adams Graduate student in archaeology and Bible from Pasco, Washington
Malak Alkadri Undergraduate student in anthropology from Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta
Christine Asquith Undergraduate student in anthropology from Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta
Jaime Bennett Graduate student in archaeology from La Sierra University
Glorianne Besana Undergraduate student in history from Pacific Union College in Angwin, California
Mary Boyd Presbyterian pastor in Langley, Washington
Kent Bramlett Professor of archaeology and antiquity at La Sierra University
Owen Chesnut Almost finished with PhD in archaeology from Andrews University
Douglas Clark Director of the Center for Near Eastern Archaeology at La Sierra University
Shaun Eccles Undergraduate student in anthropology from Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta
Melissa Hebein Post-graduate pre-pharmacy student at La Sierra University
Amanda Hopkins Teacher in Falls Church, Virginia
David Hopkins Retired professor of archaeology and Hebrew Bible at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Regine Hunziker-Rodewald Professor of OT and the History of the ANE at the Universite de Strasbourg in Strasbourg, France
Ruth Kent Retired chaplain from Hurley, New York
Jillian Logee Professional photographer from Calgary, Alberta
Jose Martini Graduate student in religious studies at La Sierra University
Lawrence Murrin Registrar at Burman University in Lacombe, Alberta
Bernina Ninow Assistant Librarian in the CNEA Library at La Sierra University
Friedbert Ninow Dean of the HMS Richards Divinity School at La Sierra University
Colin Pummel Undergraduate student in history from Pacific Union College in Angwin, California
Kristina Reed Graduate student in archaeology at La Sierra University
Audrey Shaffer Retired nursing educator from Corona, California
Shayla Shupe Undergraduate student from Walla Walla University in College Place, Washington
Kristy Swartz Graduate student in anthropology at Washington State University, Vancouver, Washington campus
Satu Terian Office manager in Carmel, California
Marilyn Thomsen VP for Communications and Marketing at La Sierra University
Craig Tyson Professor of Hebrew Bible at D'Youville College in Buffalo, New York
Josephine Verduci Archaeologist at the Melbourne Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Australia
Matthew Vincent PhD student at Murcia University in Spain
Monique Vincent Publications Manager for the CNEA at La Sierra University
Carolyn Waldron Food bank coordinator in Ridgefield, Washington
Jordanian archaeology student with MA
Niveen Rashad Abu-Shawish Graduate student in archaeology in Amman, Jordan
Ethnographic University of Jordan students
Omar Ibrahim Eneizat Graduate student in anthropology at the University of Jordan
Amira Mohammad Eneizat Graduate student in anthropology at the University of Jordan
Eslam Mahmoud AlDawdieh Graduate student in anthropology at the University of Jordan
Jordanian volunteers
Rakan Omar Karborani Son of tour guides in Jordan
Hanna Omar Karborani Son of tour guides in Jordan
DoA Representatives
Samia Khouri Department of Antiquities of Jordan
Muna Hiari Department of Antiquities of Jordan
Aktham Oweidi Department of Antiquities of Jordan
Salem Diab Department of Antiquities of Jordan
ATC
Saed Ahmaru Son of the steward at the Amman Training Center in Muqabalayn, Jordan
Ahmad Ahmaru Son of the steward at the Amman Training Center in Muqabalayn, Jordan
Bunayat
Abu Issa Mohammad Taha Hamid Almarai Labor boss from Bunayat, Jordan
Adel Taha Hamid Almarai Worker from Bunayat, Jordan
Ibrahim Taha Hamid Almarai Worker from Bunayat, Jordan
Yehyeh Hamdan Taha Hamid Almarai Worker from Bunayat, Jordan
Yousef Omar Hamid Almarai Worker from Bunayat, Jordan
Amjad Omar Abd Al-Nahdi Almarai Al-Ajarmah Worker from Bunayat, Jordan
Ibrahim Burgess Ahmad Almesafa Worker from Bunayat, Jordan
Bilal Ahmed Abed Kareem Almarai Worker from Bunayat, Jordan
Bilal And-Alrahman And-Almahdi Almari Worker from Bunayat, Jordan
Imad Abdel Rahman Ab Al Mahdi Almarai Worker from Bunayat, Jordan
Aboud Al-Almahdi Othman Al-Almahdi Almarai Worker from Bunayat, Jordan
Ahmad Abdullah Mohammad Simarna Worker from Bunayat, Jordan
Mohammad Saleh Ahmad Almaras Worker from Bunayat, Jordan
Mohammad Worker from Bunayat, Jordan
Abu Kher Worker from Bunayat, Jordan
Rakan Talib Worker from Tall al-`Umayri
Abdullah Othman Worker from Bunayat, Jordan
Abdulkarim Worker from Bunayat, Jordan

So, one can see an extremely cosmopolitan group, totaling 62 adventurers. We were especially pleased to have so many Jordanians joining us. As under normal circumstances, these individuals included the DoA representatives (four this year!) and our labor force from the village of Bunayat, but also engaged a graduate archaeology student from Hashemite University (Nivin), three graduate students in anthropology from the University of Jordan (Omar, Amira, and Eslam), and four teenagers, two the sons of travel agents in Jordan (Rakan and Hanna) and two the sons of our Steward at ATC (Saed and Ahmad). They all made excellent contributions. We would invite the students and teenagers back any time.

Workers from Bunayat not only form our labor force; we are family. Bunayat is the fourth `Umayri constructed over the millennia around an ancient water source, even mentioned by Pharaoh Tutmosis III (`Umayri West, where we dig, from the Bronze and Iron Ages; `Umayri East, across the airport highway, represents the classical Greek, Roman, and Byzantine periods; a small Islamic site not far to the north; and then Bunayat, likely going back to late Ottoman times). So, the fourth `Umayri is providing labor to help us understand the first one. In the process, Bunayat boys began work with us in 1984 when we started excavation here. We now employ some from the second generation and are close to the third.

Carolyn Waldron and Monique, with collaboration from Kent Bramlett and me, established the Community Ethnographic Project at `Umayri (CEPU) to record family histories and make this a part of our study of the ancient past at `Umayri. For more information, visit the CEPU website at: http://www.madabaplains.org/umayri/cepu.htm

2016 Bunayat laborers, also in a jubilant mood

Aside from the daily visits of the DoA representatives, which are required by law, we also enjoyed seeing Mr. Basem Mohamid, Director of the Madaba Regional office of the DoA. Since `Umayri is really in the Amman District, but also part of the Madaba Plains Project, our finds sometimes end up in the Amman storerooms and sometimes in the Madaba facility. Although living in the border region occasionally leaves us schizophrenic, perhaps not unlike border towns between ancient Ammon and Moab, it appears more and more like Madaba will be the repository of all things `Umayri. This means we work for Basem, as well as for the DoA headquartered in Amman, where his wife, Hanadi, works.

Basem is a great friend of archaeologists and is pressing several of us to expand our vision of the possible in Madaba. He is coordinator of a relatively new international initiative (American – La Sierra University and Gannon University – and Italian – Perugia University) to prepare for and construct a new archaeological museum virtually across the street from the famous St. George’s Church (Map Church), and to turn the current museum into a place for archaeological storage and research.

Basem (second from left) and Friedbert and Bernina Ninow (right) Basem and DoA representatives Samia and Muna

The Director of the German Protestant Institute of Archaeology in Amman (GPIA), Frauke Kenkel, brought three scholars with her for a visit in late July. While new to the position, Frauke is not new to Jordan and was part of the highly successful excavation team at Tall Zira’a in northern Jordan, a project with which we have compared finds because of similar occupation histories between our sites. The visit gave our field supervisors ample opportunity to update Frauke and to initiate her three colleagues on progress at `Umayri.

Frauke (second from right) and GPIA group of scholars

Monique showing off Field J to GPIA group

Owen (second from right) explaining Field L to GPIA group

Kent, Monique, and Craig answering questions about Field H with GPIA group

GPIA group in Field K-P -- Friedbert is around somewhere

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