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.
Work 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.
"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.