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.
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.
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.