Although Wadi Ramm is primarily known as a natural wonder, it is also home to settlements and cultic structures from various times throughout history. These include the Nabataean Temple complex of Jabal Ramm, prehistoric Risqeh and Ain Abu Nekheileh, as well as the Nabataean, Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic settlement of Humayma.
Nestled among the mountains and settlements of Wadi Ramm are more than 25,000 petroglyphs and 20,000 inscriptions. One cash of Thamudic and Kufic inscriptions lies within Khaz ‘Ali in the Wadi Ramm Protected Area. Although this site is the most visited it is also the least understood area within the park.
Two other sites Anfashieh and Alameileh are rock art sites on the standard tourist circuit that lack proper, formal documentation, while also neighboring more isolated rock outcroppings, such as Jabal Mghor, Tereif el Marar/Marag, and Ain Mereifiq, that feature Thamudic inscriptions, camel drawings, hunting scenes and other animal carvings.
Another site includes ‘Ain Shallaleh, one of Ramm valley’s most prominent natural springs that has, throughout time, supplied fresh water to the area’s inhabitants. Initial explorations in the 1930s found the spring was heavily visited and used during the Nabataean period with several Nabataean, Thamudic, and even Greek inscriptions carved along the faces and panels of the spring’s rock walls and overhangs.
SCHEP’s work in Wadi Ramm will focus on documenting and recording the abundance of petroglyphs and inscriptions. Because of the high volume of inscriptions and the problems that arise with conserving sandstone, very little has been done to actually preserve the carvings. The project will introduce the Rock Art Stability Index (RASI), a groundbreaking new technique in documentation that has never before been used in Jordan, which will provide a more detailed database to create a better visitor plan and enhance the Wadi Ramm experience.
The project seeks to train members of the local community as well as existing Department of Antiquities staff to ensure they are able to continue to document and then ultimately preserve these important cultural monuments. The database and training will work together to provide long-term benefits for the monitoring of these sites for the benefit of the local community and visitors.
One of the primary targets of the project’s community engagement strategy are recent graduates, from the area, who will be trained in proper interpretation of the rock art and heritage. So far, more than 25 community memebers have been trained in interpretation.
Other sectors of the community will be tour guides who will be given updated and accurate information to include in their tours to create a superior visiting experience.