Last Wednesday and Thursday Tom and I were in Amman for the meeting of the American Center of Oriental Research Board. In my experience most people at the very least are ambivalent about, or even dread, board meetings – but the ACOR board consists of a lively mix of U.S. and Jordanian archaeologists/academics along with lay members with an interest in Jordan and archaeology – directors of other non-profits, former diplomats and
government ministers, lawyers and financial folks…I look forward to our biannual gatherings. We share a love for Jordan and supporting ACOR’s mission for Jordanian culture and archaeology. I personally have benefitted from ACOR through my academic career, from receiving a Jennifer Groot fellowship to assist in travel expenses to my first excavation in Jordan in 1993 (at Tell Nimrin) to various pre- and post-doctoral fellowships to assist in my ongiong research, to their facilitating paperwork and other logistics for setting up archaeological field projects in the country.
This year the post-meeting board trip consisted of a jaunt to Petra to see our excavation site along with ACOR’s ongoing conservation and restoration work at the Petra Church and the Temple of the Winged Lions. Tom and I had a wonderful ride down with John Oleson (former director of the Humayma Excavation) and former U.S. ambassador Skip Gnehm, gossiping about fellow archaeologists and discussing the current Middle East political situation.
After the tour and some cleaning up, we reconvened at the ACOR project house in Wadi Musa for a wonderful catered dinner in the garden. Joining the ACOR staff and board were members of the local archaeological community and specialists from the Winged Lions project.
Today began of course our final week in the field, with most operations centering on removing the remaining tomb fill and revealing some of the internal features. In B.4 we cleared the western and northern niches, only to disccover that the skeletal remains had been washed or fallen at some point into the residual soil below (which we had noted while clearing the tomb chamber fill). The western niche contained an unusual array of very large fragments of Nabataean period storage jars. Most of the students are now back in camp trying to tame our large backlog of ceramics that need to be washed – and have been joined by four local women (who, frankly, beat the students’ progress at an alarming rate!). Our conservator is scrambling to catch up on photographing the small finds and special objects, many of which were found in the tombs (which means the flow will remain unbated all week). Onward!