The ‘Aqaba-Ma‘an Archaeological and Epigraphic Survey (AMAES), directed by the late Professor Bill Jobling (center) of the University of Sydney, recorded thousands of ancient inscriptions and rock drawings in Jordan’s Wadi Ramm desert. Photo by Richard Morgan.
In September 2016, ACOR received the project archive of the ‘Aqaba-Ma‘an Archaeological and Epigraphic Survey (AMAES), directed by the late William (Bill) Jobling of the University of Sydney from 1980 to 1990. The pathbreaking survey, which documented Wadi Ramm’s exceptional landscapes and archaeological remains with thousands of color and black and white photographs, was the first research project to comprehensively explore this vast desert region in Jordan’s far south. The important collection was gifted to ACOR by Jobling’s daughters, Rebecca and Kate, who often visited Jordan as children with their father.
Under the guidance of Associate Director Glenn J. Corbett, ACOR initiated a project in 2017 to catalog, digitize, and make available to researchers this important collection of primary data on Wadi Ramm’s ancient past. Thanks to a supporting grant from the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation, given in honor of long-time University of Sydney administrator and AMAES photographer and field assistant Michael Bannigan, ACOR’s archival team has begun the process of creating high-resolution scans of more than 5,000 color slides, an important first step in preserving the collection for posterity.
As the digitization project grows, the survey’s invaluable photographic data will be linked with scans of Jobling’s field notes and on-site readings, maps showing the locations where inscriptions were found, and even the tracings that were occasionally made of the inscribed stone surfaces. Using the latest digital technologies, the results of Jobling’s important survey will ultimately be made available through a robust and user-friendly online database that will reveal the wealth of Wadi Ramm’s little known archaeology to the world.
Major Financial Support
Initial funding for the AMAES Digital Archive project is being generously provided by the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation (NEAF) of the University of Sydney. NEAF Support is provided through the Michael Bannigan Bequest Fund.