The Living Museum of Umm Qais: Sustainable preservation, analysis and virtual reconstruction of Gadara's ancient site and village

The project aims to record and analyse the endangered and multi-layered heritage site of Umm Qais including the Ottoman village houses. The project looks into ways to enhance the local community’s socio-cultural engagement through skills development and capacity building in digital heritage and tourism enterprise.

The Umm Qais distinctive archaeology and heritage site in Northern Jordan is at risk from the following: physical deterioration and insecurity (due to environmental factors and human factors such as looting), lack of local knowledge about sustainable heritage techniques; and limited appreciation and awareness of the site’s importance amongst the local community. This has resulted in a reduction in tourism and continues to limit the site's socio-economic potential. The disengagement of the local community, in particular, has resulted in increasing vulnerability, isolation, reduced economic activity, and limited work opportunities, making the site increasingly unsustainable, unprotected and under increasing danger of further loss of its archaeological assets. In response to such challenges, the project focuses its efforts on introducing innovative research and digital technologies to foster a sustainable development model in Umm Qais that facilitates policies to promote sustainable tourism, create jobs and support local culture and products and addresses UN SDG 2030 target on devising and implementing strategies to promote sustainable tourism. It will inform the sustainable preservation of the site, fostering innovative economic opportunities, and design an effective public engagement platform for local communities.

Project Details


Location: Irbid, Jordan, Middle East, Asia Organiser(s): University of Leeds Funder(s): Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Funding received: £250,000 Commencement Date: 02/2019 Project Status: Active
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