Archaeologist discusses Ain Ghazal, urges its expansion, renovation

Ain Ghazal
Ain Ghazal statues. (File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Zeidan Kafafi, an archaeologist, member of the Board of Trustees of the Jordan Museum, and one of the directors of the Ain Ghazal excavation project, emphasized the importance of highlighting the site where the sculptures were discovered and preparing it for tourism purposes, suggesting the creation of a museum, a park, and other tourist attractions.اضافة اعلان

Kafafi called for preserving the site through the establishment of suitable exhibition halls, and including it on the tourist map of Amman. He emphasized the need for the Department of Antiquities in Jordan to collaborate with the private sector to prepare the site, Hala News reported.

This was in response to Google's celebration of the 40th anniversary of the discovery of the Ain Ghazal statues, reflecting public interest.
History of the site

He explained that the site was discovered during road expansions in 1979, and archaeological excavations began there in 1982, conducted by a joint Jordanian American archaeological mission from the Department of Antiquities, Yarmouk University, the American Center of Oriental Research in Amman, the University of San Diego, and the Desert Research Center at the University of Arizona.
“The site was inhabited continuously for approximately 2500 years, between 7250-5000 BCE, reaching its peak size around 6500-6000 BCE”
The excavations continued for 20 seasons, with the last two seasons in 2011 and 2012, revealing that the site was inhabited continuously for approximately 2500 years, between 7250-5000 BCE, reaching its peak size around 6500-6000 BCE.

Details of the sculptures
Kafafi stated that the sculptures, consisting of 32 full statues, one half-statue, and a statue head, were discovered in two batches in 1983 and 1985. They were sent to the British Museum in London and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., respectively, for restoration based on agreements with the Jordanian Department of Antiquities.

He said that these sculptures are unique in the world due to their manufacturing process, which involves constructing a human structure from reeds and then coating it with a layer of plaster.

The precision of their manufacture is reflected in the facial features such as eyes, nose, mouth, and the addition of kohl made from bitumen for the eye pupils. The complete statues, whether male or female, are approximately one meter tall, while the half-statues are about 40cm high.

These statues are currently exhibited in several local museums, including the Jordan Museum, the National Museum of Jordan in Jabal Al-Qala'a, and the Jordan Heritage Museum at Yarmouk University. Internationally, they are displayed at the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi, the Louvre Museum in Paris, and the British Museum in London.

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