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The Temple of the Winged Lions was first excavated by the independent American Expedition to Petra (AEP) program, directed by the late Dr. Philip C. Hammond (1924–2008), during 20 field seasons conducted between 1974 and 2005. Many sections of the TWL have now been exposed to the elements for some 30 years, resulting in the need for significant conservation efforts.
The Temple of the Winged Lions (TWL) monument likely served initially as a center of worship for the main Nabataean goddess (al-Lāt/al-‘Uzza) and then later included the worship of the Hellenized, cosmopolitan goddess Isis. Religious structures in ancient Nabataea that provide evidence for this type of inter-regional cultic syncretization are scarce, thus dramatically elevating the importance of this temple complex.
The TWLCRM initiative seeks to conserve, preserve, and present this monument so that it can be properly seen and understood in a manner befitting its importance in Petra and the greater milieu of ancient Nabataea. An important component of the initiative are sustainability programs that both involve and benefit the local authorities, communities, and stakeholders.
This project has two primary goals within the context of developing long-term management and conservation strategies for the Petra Archaeological Park (PAP), a World Heritage site. The first of these goals is to help establish the necessary standards for all subsequent conservation/preservation/presentation efforts within the PAP. The second is to further develop capacity within the PAP, the DOA, and the local communities in order to ensure that future efforts of this nature have ready access to the requisite resources.
The TWLCRM Initiative is grateful for the generous support of Royal Jordanian Airlines.