by H. Taha (MOTA-DACH, Director General)
after L. Nigro - H. Taha (eds.), Tell es-Sultan/Jericho in the Context of the Jordan Valley (Rome "La Sapienza" Studies on the Archaeology of Palestine & Transjordan, 2), Rome 2006, pp. ix-xviii
The Workshop “Tell es-Sultan/Jericho in the Context of the Jordan Valley: Site Management, Conservation and Sustainable Development” was held in Jericho/Ariha between 7th - 11th February 2005. It was jointly organized by the Palestinian Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage, UNESCO Office in Ramallah, and Rome “La Sapienza” University. The organization of the Workshop was possible through a financial aid from the World Heritage Centre.
The main focus of the Workshop was the site of Tell es-Sultan in its wider ecological, cultural and socio-economic context.
The conference was opened by H.E. Mitri Abu Aita, the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, with attendance of Mrs. Costanza Farina, the Head of the UNESCO Office in Ramallah, Mr. Hasan Saleh, Mayor of Jericho Municipality, Dr. Hamdan Taha, Director General of the Palestinian Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage, and multidisciplinary participants from different key international and national institutions dealing with archaeology, site management and conservation issues including experts from Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage, Rome “La Sapienza” University, University College of London, Leiden University, Bergen University, Birzeit University, UNESCO and others.
From the first soundings in 1868, four major excavations were carried out at Tell es-Sultan. However, in spite of its significance, the site was not properly managed and preserved. Following the transfer of authorities in Jericho, a project for the re-evaluation of Tell es-Sultan was developed within the framework of the joint cooperation between the Palestinian Department of Antiquities and Rome “La Sapienza” University. The main objectives of the project were to carry out an archaeological assessment of the site in order to determine the state of conservation and its future needs. The work carried out between 1997-2000 provided some basic information on the site and has contributed significantly in developing a proper management plan. The joint work managed to raise national and international attention. The site has been recently listed in the Inventory of Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites of Potential Outstanding Universal Value in Palestine. The Jericho international Workshop managed to gather a group of scholars and researchers, along with different stakeholders, to discuss the main issues of site management, conservation and sustainable development, trying to delineate the crucial axis of a comprehensive management and conservation plan for Tell es-Sultan.
The main purposes and objectives of the Workshop can be summarized as following:
· to discuss issues of the site management, conservation and sustainable development in the Jericho area, focusing on Tell es-Sultan as one of the most important and vulnerable archaeological site in this area and worldwide;
· to discuss a planning methodology for the management of cultural Heritage resources in the area;
· to reinforce the capacity building of interested Palestinian institutions working in this section, especially the DACH;
· to exchange concepts, ideas and expertise regarding site management and conservation;
· to attract the attention of donors and decision makers to the significance of Tell es-Sultan.
These were the main four themes of the Workshop:
1) Research history of the Rift Valley and Tell es-Sultan;
2) Management of archaeological sites, including planning, presentation, promotion, protection;
3) Case studies on conservation of archaeological sites (stone and mud-brick);
4) Sustainable development.
The Workshop was structured in such a way, by addressing the general issues of methodology of management planning to specific issues pertaining to Tell es-Sultan, its conservation and its management, including key note-lectures and short presentations, sites visits, round table and working groups.
The aim of the key note-lectures was to provide participants with basic methodological issues and general concepts and frames of main themes of the Workshop. Several key lectures were given in the conference, covering main themes of the archaeological sites in Jericho area, Tell es-Sultan, the management and conservation issues. In this context, a series of key note-lectures were presented, including Prof. Lorenzo Nigro, Rome “La Sapienza” University, on “Results of the Italian-Palestinian Expedition to Tell es-Sultan: at the Dawn of Urbanization in Palestine”; Prof. Gerrit van der Kooij, University of Leiden, on “The Jordan Valley and the Vicissitudes of Life at Deir ‘Alla During the Bronze and Iron Ages”; Dr. Tim Williams, University College of London, on “Archaeological Site Management: Theory, Strategies and Implementation”; and Dr. Shadia Touqan, Technical Office Old City of Jerusalem, on “Revitalization Programme: Approach to Urban Conservation in Historic Cities as Living Cities. Case-Study: the Old City of Jerusalem”.
The short presentations focused on different aspects of the research history of the Jordan Valley and Tell es-Sultan, management, conservation and sustainable development of archaeological sites, such as “Management of Archaeological Resources in Palestine”, presented by Dr. Hamdan Taha, Director General of the Palestinian Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage. The main bulk of presentations was focused on Tell es-Sultan and its environment; worth mentioning are the presentations on “The Archaeological Site of Tell es-Sultan as a Potential World Heritage Site: Nomination Dossier, Management Planning and Other Requirements for Inscription in the World Heritage List”, presented by Arch. Giovanni Fontana Antonelli, program specialist for Cultural Heritage, UNESCO Office in Ramallah, and the proposal of “Cultural Heritage Planning and Management for Development. The Palestinian Archaeological Park of the Jericho Oasis'”, presented by Arch. Francesco Nigro, Rome “La Sapienza” University. Arch. Gianluca Solera, The Greens European Free Alliance in the European Parliament, presented an intervention on “The Principles of Local Sustainable Development'”.
A series of case studies from a wide range of sites in Palestine were presented by some key institutions in the Workshop. The presentations were followed by discussions. These include an intervention on “Management of Cultural Resources in Hebron”, presented by Dr. Khaled Qawasme, Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, and an intervention on “Space Utilization and Dynamic Stability in a Palestinian Cultural Landscape: Towards a Management Plan for the Birzeit Region'”, presented by Dr. Hamid Salem, Birzeit University. Mr. Imad Atrash, Director of the Palestinian Wildlife Society, presented an intervention on “'Biodiversity of the Jericho Area in the Ecosystem of the Jordan Valley”.
Daily visits to sites were undertaken. They contained main archeological sites in the Jericho area, important to clarify the themes of the conference, including Tell es-Sultan, Hisham’s Palace, Tawahin es-Sukkar, ‘Ain ed-Deuk Synagogue, Tulul Abu al-‘Alayiq and the Botanic Garden in Jericho.
Before the final conclusion of the Workshop, a meeting with donor countries was organized to present the scope of the project, in order to secure fundraising for preparing a holistic management plan for Tell es-Sultan and implementing all its components, including site development, conservation, protection, presentation and promotion of the site.
The last day of the conference was focused totally on the working groups to discuss four main themes crucial to prepare a holistic management plan for Tell es-Sultan through their recommendations, as following:
· research and excavations;
· presentation, interpretation and education;
· conservation and preservation;
· management and planning.
A Task Force composed of a small group of experts has been established to follow up the results and recommendations of the conference. The aim of the Task Force was to consolidate the results of the Workshop and to prepare a proposal document for the purpose of fundraising. The document was prepared by Arch. Maha Mansour under the supervision of the Task Force.
The Task Force consists of the followings: Dr. Hamdan Taha, coordinator, DACH; Arch. Giovanni Fontana Antonelli, coordinator, UNESCO Office in Ramallah; Prof. Lorenzo Nigro, Rome “La Sapienza” University, Italy; Arch. Ali Ziadah, DACH consultant; Arch. Nadia Habash, ICOMOS Palestine; Dr. Tim Williams, University College of London, United Kingdom; Dr. Nils Anfinset, University of Bergen, Norwey; Mr. Ahmed Rjoob, DACH; Mr. Jehad Yasin, DACH; Arch. Maha Mansour, Task Force coordinator assistant.
H.E. Mitri Abu Aita - Former Minister of Tourism and Antiquities
Mr. Hasan Saleh - Mayor of Jericho
Mrs. Costanza Farina - Representative, UNESCO Office in Ramallah
Dr. Hamdan Taha - Director General, Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage - Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities
Arch. G. Fontana Antonelli - UNESCO Office in Ramallah
Prof. Lorenzo Nigro - Rome “La Sapienza” University
Mr. Ahmed Rjoob - Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage - Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities
Mr. Jehad Yasin - Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage - Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities
Mr. Mohammed Diab - Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage - Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities
Eng. Basel Hijazi - Jericho Municipality
Arch. Ali Ziadah - Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage Consultant
Dr. Khaled Qawasme - Hebron Rehabilitation Committee
Arch. Zahra Zawawi - Ministry of Planning
Arch. Nurjihan Riyad - UNDP
Dr. Hamid Salem - Birzeit University
Mr. Imad Atrash - Palestinian Wildlife Society
Dr. Shadia Touqan - Technical Office Old City of Jerusalem
Arch. Ehab Zuheaka - Technical Office Old City of Jerusalem
Dr. Yousef Al-Natsheh - Islamic Waqf, Jerusalem
Arch. Nadia Habash - ICOMOS Palestine
Arch. Maha Samman Mansour - UNESCO consultant
Arch. Khaldun Bshara - Riwaq Centre for architectural conservation
Prof. Gerrit van der Kooij - Leiden University
Dr. Nils Anfinset - Bergen University
Dr. Tim Williams - University College of London
Dr. Sojerd van der Linde - University College of London
Arch. Roberto Sabelli - Florence University
Maestro Stefano Sarri - Guarnacci Museum, Volterra
Arch. Gianluca Solera - The Green European Parliament
Rome “La Sapienza” Team
Arch. Francesco Nigro - Rome “La Sapienza” University
Master Stefano Ferrari - Istituto Centrale per il Restauro, Rome
Dr. A.R. Lisella - Rome “La Sapienza” University
Dr. Andrea Polcaro - Rome “La Sapienza” University
Dr. Maura Sala - Rome “La Sapienza” University