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House XVIII at Umm el-Jimal

News & Events: Umm el-Jimal Archaeology Grants

US State Department grant for preservation of House XVIII

The US State Department grants for 2012 through the Ambassador Fund for Cultural Preservation include Umm el-Jimal as one of fifty granted through embassies around the world and one of four in the Middle East. "Jordan: Preservation of the Ruins of House XVIII at Umm el-Jimal Archaeological Site" will receive $96,000, to be directed by Prof Bert de Vries and administered by Calvin alumni Paul Christians and Jeff DeKock of Open Hand Studios.

House XVIIIWork will include:
1. Preparatory on-site study and planning, January 2012.
2. On-site preservation and presentation, Feb-May 2012.
3. Publications: documentation of the building, including three-dimensional virtual imaging, a three-D model, and a visitors' guide, Jan-Dec 2012.

This grant will also enable the January 2012 Interim to Jordan, IDIS 340 Field Work in Archaeology. Students enrolled in on-site course will serve as field school staff for the preparatory study.

Local girl at Umm el-Jimal"Needless to say, we're excited about this generous grant," says Prof Bert de Vries. "In exchange we hope to model what the face of America could really look like to those in the Middle East who'll get to enjoy the results of our work (and get paid some of the grant money for their services)."

Calvin archaeologist Bert de Vries has been excavating at Umm el-Jimal, a well preserved town from the Roman, Byzantine, Early Islamic and modern eras, since the 1970s. This State Department grant is a component of the larger publication and site presentation strategy he is conducting in collaboration with Open Hand Studios and the Jordanian Government. Previous work in this area includes the 2009 and 2010 January Interim study seasons, an American Institute of Archaeology virtual preservation grant being completed this summer (see side bar), a summer 2011 McGregor fellowship for three-D virtual reconstruction by Stephen Clemenger, working in the Calvin Archaeology Lab, and the planning of and fund raising for an Umm el-Jimal Community Heritage Center.corner of house

Archaeological Institute of America Grant

Umm el-Jimal Project (Bert de Vries) and Open Hand Studios (Paul Christians and Jeff DeKock) are completing work this summer on a virtual museum and educational center for Umm el-Jimal, Jordan with a $25,000 virtual site preservation grant from the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA).

This digital project includes creation of a virtual museum and site tour of Umm el Jimal, video production of ethnographic interviews with the modern residents of Umm el-Jimal village, and composition of an educational curriculum reference guide for teaching the archaeology of Umm el Jimal in Jordan’s public schools.

These materials are being posted on the website,, in English and Arabic, and the Arabic version is also being prepared for publication by Jordan’s Ministry of Education.