History:

Although Wadi Rum 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 Rum, 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 Rum are more than 25,000 petroglyphs and 20,000 inscriptions. One cashe of Thamudic and Kufic inscriptions lies within Khaz ‘Ali in the Wadi Rum Protected Area. Although this site is the most visited, it is also the least understood by tourists within the park. 
Two other sites Anfashieh and Alameileh are rock art sites on the standard tourist circuit that lack proper, formal documentation. This also applies to the neighboring more isolated rock outcroppings, such as Jabal Mghor, Tereif el Marar/Marag, and Ain Mereifiq, that feature Thamudic inscriptions, drawings of camels, hunting scenes, and other images. 
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.

Site Development :

Wadi Ramm is different from work at other SCHEP sites in that it is intentionally non-invasive, focusing instead on human resources and education. The main research techniques are through observation and photographic documentation. The only physical intervention on site is developing two official tour routes and putting signs in place. 

SCHEP Support:

Capacity Building

Nine local students have been trained in a three-month course to use the RASI to score large numbers of rock art panels in the park. This will allow them to become leaders in their own community, both in preserving this important art work as well helping to train future tour guides. The project directors were favorably impressed with their skill and progress, as the trainees exceeded the average progress of American college students who had previously been trained in the process. After a visit by one of the developers of the RASI system itself, the project was gratified to see the trainees had reached nearly expert level. Trainees remarked they felt personally connected to the work and were excited to continue their training or even train others.
SCHEP and the CB-RAER held an intensive three-day workshop to train local guides, that included both best practices in guiding tours as well as practicums. Some 25-people participated from villages surrounding Wadi Rumm. 15 of these young men will continue their training in the three-month official Rock Art Rangers program. They will visit the field and learn from the Site Steward Mohammad Domyan, who is currently preparing an inclusive tour of the area. Guides are continually tested on their knowledge of the inscriptions, rock art interpretation, and best practices around heritage sites.

Job Creation

Due to the nature of the project, no permanent positions were created. However, the local staff have developed unique skills that will make them desirable applicants for other programs and projects.

Tourism and Economic Development

CB-RAER proudly developed the Rock Art Ranger Handbook that guides were able to use to give more informed tours and describe the Thamudic inscriptions. Around 20 tour guides completed training in the new material and officially graduated from the Rock Art Ranger program. This will ensure that tour guides give informative and fact-based tours to visitors.

Awareness

SCHEP has organized and supported a number of visits to the area, encouraging young Jordanians to experience the cultural aspects of Wadi Rum as well as its natural and archaeological wonders. The project directors all noted the enthusiastic community engagement, as the local tribes felt a strong connection to the material covered by the training. Once such event was World Tourism Day, where some 70 public school children learned about inscriptions while also enjoying jeep and camel tours.

Project staff have given a number of public lectures about the project in an effort to raise awareness among other academics and tourism professionals. Events like these seek to boost both domestic and international tourism. The CB-RAER team worked to spread awareness of the project within the host community as well with foreign and Jordanian academics at lectures in Wadi Rum village, at ACOR in Amman, and at the International Association of Geomorphologists in New Delhi.