Umm el-Jimal jordan

The Umm el-Jimal Project is an archaeological research, cultural heritage preservation, and community development partnership centered on the site and people of Umm el-Jimal, Jordan. Over a century ago the scholar Howard Butler recorded in vivid detail haunting first impressions experienced over the centuries by travelers to this ancient site, writing: 

Far out in the desert, in the midst of a rolling plain, beside the dry bed of an ancient stream, there is a deserted city.... The walls of the ancient deserted city, its half-ruined gates, the towers and arches of its churches, the two and three-story walls of its mansions, all of basalt, rise black and forbidding from the grey of the plain. Many of the buildings have fallen in ruins, but many others preserve their ancient form in such wonderful completeness, that, to the traveler approaching them from across the plain, or viewing them with the aid of a field glass from the nearest crests of the Djebel Haur'n, the deserted ruin appears like a living city, all of black, rising from a grey-white sea (H. C. Butler, Princeton Expedition to Syria II, 1913: 149-50).

Today this unique place of unknown historical name is also home to a thriving community of about 6000 modern residents. Since 1972, the Umm el-Jimal Project has sought to understand, protect, and share the town’s ancient and modern cultural heritage in collaboration with Umm el-Jimal’s citizens and a diverse group of partners. Currently in the second of three development phases, this website aims to provide an open, permanent archive and ever-evolving online home for the project’s ongoing research and related community work as a complement to the site itself. Welcome to ummeljimal.org!

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