After working at Ma’tan, Beidha and Wadi Faynan the team returned to Jordan’s capital Amman to stay and work at the British Institute. On arriving in Amman the team had a well-deserved day off which we spent out in the countryside visiting an old colleague of Emma’s, close to the old capital of Salt. Samir and Emma worked together on the Water, Life and Civilisation project and he was very generous in inviting the whole team over for a lunch!
We had a lovely day out with roast goat cooked in a subterranean oven sealed with mud! After lunch some of the team members went on to visit Salt, the old Ottoman capital with its traditional townhouses and cobbled narrow streets.
The main focus while in Amman was to pXRF all samples that we were unable to do in situ while we were on site. This included all of the sub-samples taken from the archive store at WF16, the Beihda samples and the Ain Ghazal samples (see Beihda, WF16 and Ain Ghazal fieldwork entries). We also had to unpack all of the equipment and prepare samples for export. This involved compiling a list of all the samples that we wanted to take back to Bournemouth, their contextual information and the overall weight. We visited the Department of Antiquities on Sunday 10th May with the samples (all triple bagged!) neatly packed into crates with the appropriate paperwork. We got the all clear just in the nick of time, ten minutes before the department closed!
While we were in Amman we also got the opportunity to visit both the oldest Ottoman townhouse in Amman and the new heritage museum. The old museum had consisted of three small rooms in a building on top of the hill next to the citadel. The new museum was situated just outside central downtown Amman in a huge new purpose built building. The museum was very grand and most of the material from the old museum has now been moved here including the famous Ain Ghazal statues. It was exciting to see these in their new home, a more fitting place to present these iconic finds. The new museum has numerous interactive aspects with some ingenious ideas and is clearly laid out through the different archaeological time periods. There is even a section on modern Bedouin life in Jordan which includes a picture of a long-time friend of the project who has worked alongside numerous archaeological projects in Wadi Faynan over the years.