Although Wadi Rum is primarily known as a natural wonder, it is also home to ancient settlements and structures from different eras throughout history. These include the Nabataean Temple complex of Jabal Rum, prehistoric Risqeh and Ain Abu Nekheileh. Nestled among the mountains and settlements of Wadi Rum are more than 25,000 petroglyphs and 20,000 rock inscriptions. While some rock art sites are regularly visited as part of the typical tourist route through the valley, even these are little understood by many tour guides and visitors, and there are many more yet that have not yet been properly documented or interpreted. Many of these sites feature Thamudic inscriptions, drawings of camels, hunting scenes, and other images that often refer to a specific person or event.
n Wadi Rum, SCHEP supported the efforts of The Community-Based Rock Art and Epigraphic Recording Project (CBRAER) to train community members to interpret and document rock art and inscriptions, and work with local tourism professionals to incorporate this right cultural heritage into visitor experiences. SCHEP’s work at Wadi Rum is intentionally non-invasive and does not alter the site or its features, focusing instead on human resources and education. Through SCHEP’s collaboration with CBRAER, local students were trained to use a tool called the Rock Art Stability Index (RASI) to score large numbers of rock art panels in the park according to their state of preservation or degradation. This will allow these students to become leaders in their own community, both in preserving this important artwork as well helping to train future tour guides.
SCHEP and the CB-RAER also held an intensive three-day workshop to train local guides in topics such as cultural resource management, geology, epigraphy, history, and rock art. Some 25 people participated from villages surrounding Wadi Rum, and many went on to continue their training in the three-month official Rock Art Rangers program. These guides helped develop rock art focused tour routes for both the Rum and Disi areas. Finally, through SCHEP’s work in Wadi Rum, graffiti was removed from rock surfaces as part of training, and signs were installed at key sites.

To access a digital copy of the interpretive signs produced for this site with SCHEP support, click here.

For more information about SCHEP work at Wadi Rum from 2014 to 2018, see our publication, The Story of SCHEP, 2014-2018.

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