April 15, 2021

Drones and GIS Applications in World Heritage Sites Management Project in Wadi Rum Protected Area

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We are delighted to share that ACOR, through director Pearce Paul Creasman and under the leadership of Nizar Al Adarbeh and Jehad Haron (USAID SCHEP), has received funding from the National Geographic Society for a new archaeological project, “Drones and GIS: Monitoring Illegal Excavation and Vandalism of Archaeological Sites in Wadi Rum (UNESCO World Heritage Site).”

This project, which will be implemented by USAID SCHEP, utilizes drone photography and databases to track and document the risks facing the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wadi Rum. Both limited resources and decreased monitoring due to the pandemic and resulting lockdowns mean that Wadi Rum and its millennia of unparalleled rock art, undeciphered inscriptions, pristine deserts, and awe-inspiring outcrops are under threat due to encroachment and illegal excavations. The information gathered through this project will equip the Wadi Rum Protected Area (WRPA) with precise locations to guide intervention to address these risks. Furthermore, it will build local capacity in site monitoring and management through a professional, hands-on training program. Finally, the project will help to enhance the State of Conservation of the WRPA World Heritage Site through establishing a comprehensive monitoring plan.

ACOR and USAID SCHEP are proud that the National Geographic Society has entrusted our staff with this critically important work. Building on years of scholarly and community engagement at Wadi Rum and professional collaboration with the WRPA, we look forward to taking this next step as a means of continued engagement with Jordanian CHR institutions, World Heritage Site management, and local communities.