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Italy, Jordan unite for cultural heritage

By JT - Jun 06,2021 - Last updated at Jun 06,2021

Participants during the handover ceremony of the prehistoric archaeological finds discovered by the Italian mission in the Hishma Basin and in Wadi Rum on Sunday (Photo courtesy of the Italian embassy)

AMMAN — Italian Ambassador to Jordan Fabio Cassese, Acting Director General of the Department of Antiquities Ahmad Juma’a Alshami, and Deputy head of the ASEZA Sharhabeel Madi on Sunday participated in the handover ceremony of the prehistoric archaeological finds discovered by the Italian mission in the Hishma Basin and in Wadi Rum, according to an embassy statement.

In the course of over 40 years of research, Professor Edoardo Borzatti of the University of Florence and his team, now followed by the mission directed by Luca Pollarolo, have made extraordinary discoveries that testify the prehistory and history of the region from about 1.2 million years ago until 3600 BC, the statement said.

The Italian scholars succeeded in collecting and analysing about 40,000 objects from the Hishma Basin, including stone tools, anthropomorphic statues from the Chalcolithic period, graffiti representing humans, animals, hunting scenes and everyday life, the statement said.

Some of these finds were taken to Italy for study and were then returned to Jordan during a ceremony held at the Ad-Diseh Research House founded by Borzatti. As highlighted by Ambassador Cassese: “Italy thus confirms its long-standing commitment to the protection of cultural heritage in the world and in particular in Jordan”.

“In the field of cultural and natural heritage, Italy has very high-level skills and abilities. Given the experience gained over the decades in the management of its own heritage, and the consequent technical and scientific experience, Italy considers it useful to share it with other countries, for instance offering them training activities on the topics of the World Heritage Convention,” the ambassador added.

In particular, the Italian commitment stands out in the activities of strengthening the link between culture and development, the statement said.

 “We are convinced that the cultural identity of a people is one of the main drivers for integral human development. Many concrete actions can be carried out, for example, in the field of sustainable tourism. We agreed on a joint action with the Jordanian government, signing in recent days the Subsidiary Cooperation Agreement valid for 2021-2023,” the ambassador said.

The storage and conservation of the archaeological finds is now the full responsibility of the Department of Antiquities and the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authorities, which in recent years have involved the Italian embassy in Amman and UNESCO for the valorisation of this extraordinary heritage, an essential part for the culture of Southern Jordan, concluded the statement.

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