Jordan is rich in archaeological and natural sites that are an essential part of the history and heritage of the country. This cultural heritage constitutes a national treasure, therefore it is necessary to take concrete measures to preserve and protect it from threats such as illegal excavation and illicit trade. To achieve this goal, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the United States of America and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on December 16, 2019, invoking the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, to which both countries are party, the memorandum aims to mitigate the impacts of this problem.
Thanks to funding provided by the Office of Public Affairs at the US Embassy in Amman and in cooperation with the Jordanian Department of Antiquities (DoA), the American Center of Research’s Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Cultural Property Project was launched in September 2021. The project’s goal is to combat the illegal acquisition and destruction of antiquities in Jordan and strengthen national and international efforts to preserve and protect cultural heritage by supporting the DoA’s Anti-Trafficking unit. The project assessed the situation in Jordan to understand the existing shortcomings and outlined proposed solutions to overcome them. Training courses are designed and organized to meet the needs and raise the capacity of DoA personnel to perform the required tasks. Courses cover all aspects of preventing illegal trafficking in cultural property, from monitoring sites to preparing a repatriation request. The project will create a guide for future training courses. To ensure that DoA has the current tools to achieve its goals in this area, the project will provide DoA with the equipment needed to implement training programs such as computers, drivers, cameras, photographic color charts and measurement scales.
In addition, the project is set to implement a central database with a platform for recording all artifacts in the future. This will be available from various locations across Jordan. The artifact barcode system will be created in the DoA “Confiscated Artifacts section at the main warehouse” as this step will improve the database and facilitate the recording and tracking of recovered artifacts.
Another feature of the project is the creation of a network of specialists – in cultural heritage, archaeology, anthropology and illicit trafficking – who will collaborate to help identify, report and trace stolen artifacts.
Finally, the project takes into account the importance of public awareness in protecting its cultural heritage and the problem of illicit trafficking in cultural property and how to combat it and reduce its effects and impacts on national and regional range.