DEEPSAL research project

We’re pleased to announce news of a new CBRL project publication that came out earlier this August; “The DEEPSAL Project: Using the Past for Local Community Futures in Jordan” in the journal “Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites”. 

A CBRL initiative that ran from January 2015 – June 2016, the Deep Past as a Social Asset in the Levant (DEEPSAL) project examined two communities in southern Jordan, Beidha and Basta, who live near significant Neolithic archaeological sites. Funded by a British Academy Strategic Development Award, the project was part of a long-standing initiative to establish and promote a ‘Neolithic Heritage Trail’ for southern Jordan and to engage local communities at sites along the trail. 

The DEEPSAL team was made up of British Academy sponsored Post-doctoral Fellow, Dr Oroub el Abed (specialist in political economy of development), Prof. Bill Finlayson (former CBRL Director, archaeologist and Neolithic specialist), Dr Carol Palmer (British Institute Amman Director, anthropologist) and Dr Paul Burtenshaw (Sustainable Preservation Initiative, consultant and former CBRL Post-doctoral Fellow). 

The project collected information on the communities’ current socioeconomic conditions, their relationship with local cultural heritage and how that cultural heritage currently benefits or hinders them. The information was used to inform nascent strategies to utilize the sites sustainably as development assets and suggest alternative strategies as necessary.  

The project research report, written by Dr Oroub El Abed, with contributions by the DEEPSAL team members, has also just been published and are available open-access on the ADS platform. Presented in the context of the increasing interest to use archaeological resource to benefit local communities, the results showed that a tourism-based strategy is suitable for the community at Beidha but there was a need to focus on basic business skills. For Basta, a tourism-based strategy is currently unsuitable and efforts should focus instead on supporting educational activities.