Community Engagement in Rock Art Management in Wadi Rum – An ACOR & USAID SCHEP Video Lecture by Dr. Kaelin Groom

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The ACOR Video Lecture Series provides accessible discussions of new research into the past and present of Jordan and the broader Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean worlds. This video was adapted from the August 2017 public lecture delivered at ACOR by Dr. Kaelin Groom, whose research interests in environmental science include cultural stone decay and quantifying tangible impacts of tourism in culturally protected landscapes.

About the Lecture

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Wadi Rum is a prime tourist destination, home to thousands of rock inscriptions and petroglyphs—many of which are actually in grave danger of decay. This lecture discusses the many challenges facing current rock art management in the Valley of the Moon and the different ways these issues are being addressed in a current USAID SCHEP project, including:

  • This importance of focusing on a ground up approach and including the local community in not only the protection, but the research and assessment of countless rock art/inscriptions sites throughout the area.
  • The Rock Art Stability Index (RASI) as a rapid field assessment method that encourages non-specialist participation in rock art research.
  • Current progress of our August field season involving local youths from Rum village in rock art research and tour guide training in rock art stewardship.

Cultural heritage management involves the blending of science, history, art, architecture, and policy.  Hence, an understanding of rock art and its decay is fundamental to its conservation and protection. Through these efforts we hope to help establish management policies that will ensure Wadi Rum’s irreplaceable rock art and inscriptions endure increased tourism, human contact, climate change, and time.

About the Lecturer

Kaelin Groom was recently awarded her Ph.D. in Environmental Dynamics at the University of Arkansas.  She specializes in heritage science and cultural stone decay, with a special focus on rock art.  Her interests also included geomorphology, cartography, cultural resource management, and heritage tourism.  Read Kaelin Groom’s 2016 article Heritage in Stone—Assessing the Geologic Stability of Jordan’s Rock Art in the ACOR Blog.

This video lecture is not official U.S. Government information and does not necessarily represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

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