Competitive Archaeology in Jordan

Competitive Archaeology in Jordan: Narrating Identity from the Ottomans to the Hashemites

ELENA D. CORBETT
Copyright Date: 2014
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7560/760806
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    Competitive Archaeology in Jordan
    Book Description:

    An examination of archaeology in Jordan and Palestine, Competitive Archaeology in Jordan explores how antiquities have been used to build narratives and national identities. Tracing Jordanian history, and the importance of Jerusalem within that history, Corbett analyzes how both foreign and indigenous powers have engaged in a competition over ownership of antiquities and the power to craft history and geography based on archaeological artifacts. She begins with the Ottoman and British Empires—under whose rule the institutions and borders of modern Jordan began to take shape—asking how they used antiquities in varying ways to advance their imperial projects. Corbett continues through the Mandate era and the era of independence of an expanded Hashemite Kingdom, examining how the Hashemites and other factions, both within and beyond Jordan, have tried to define national identity by drawing upon antiquities. Competitive Archaeology in Jordan traces a complex history through the lens of archaeology's power as a modern science to create and give value to spaces, artifacts, peoples, narratives, and academic disciplines. It thus considers the role of archaeology in realizing Jordan's modernity—drawing its map; delineating sacred and secular spaces; validating taxonomies of citizens; justifying legal frameworks and institutions of state; determining logos of the nation for display on stamps, currency, and in museums; and writing history. Framing Jordan's history in this way, Corbett illustrates the manipulation of archaeology by governments, institutions, and individuals to craft narratives, draw borders, and create national identities.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-76744-7
    Subjects: Archaeology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiii)
  5. [Maps]
    (pp. xiv-xvi)
  6. Note on Transliterations
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  7. CHAPTER 1 Archaeology Is Politics: The Meaning of Archaeological Heritage in Jordan
    (pp. 1-19)

    King Abdullah II acceded Jordan’s throne in 1999, the fifth of the Hashemite dynasty. Jordan’s central bank shortly thereafter reintroduced the fifty-dinar bill for the first time in forty years, bearing a portrait of King Abdullah II in a suit and tie on the obverse and downtown Amman’s Raghadan Palace, the primary residence built by the first King Abdullah, on the reverse. The idea that the five Hashemite monarchs in “traditional” dress could constitute the theme of five denominations of a new currency came from the Royal Court. Artist, architect, and activist Ammar Khammash designed what would be the fourth...

  8. CHAPTER 2 Holy Land Core and Periphery
    (pp. 20-48)

    In the waning days of hostilities between the Central and Allied Powers, British Orientalist David Hogarth, director of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, mythic figurehead of the Cairo-based Arab Bureau, and soon-to-be Middle East commissioner at the Paris Peace Conference, wrote to his mother:

    I offered myself four years ago for my special knowledge of one theatre of this War, and . . . was put in charge of our policy in the Near East . . . I don’t collect intelligence but interpret it, ie. I advise on the policy to be pursued under given circumstances in the Arabian and Palestinian...

  9. CHAPTER 3 Antiquity and Modernity in Southeastern Bilad al-Sham
    (pp. 49-87)

    While Europeans spent the several competitive decades leading to the Great War imagining ancient landscapes in southern Syria, the generations of contemporary peoples who lived and understood those spaces as home experienced a protracted era of dynamic modernization. The Tanzimat (ca. 1839–76) reforms were, in the first place, intended to restructure the Ottoman Empire to save it, to strengthen its position in a global competition that had very quickly developed to threaten its very existence. These reforms sought to build centralized institutions, exploit the productivity of land in the context of global capitalism, collect revenues from private ownership of...

  10. CHAPTER 4 British Mandate: Core, Periphery, and Ownership of Narrative
    (pp. 88-124)

    Archaeology not only was a camouflageforpolitics, but proved after the war to be the very essenceofpolitics. The archaeological literature of the British Mandate reflects this, the narrative of the Holy Land core (Palestine) and its periphery (Transjordan) contextualized in the framework of the nation-state. It promoted not just the realization of a Holy Land narrative developed in the decades leading to the Great War, but England’s supremacy in a recalibrated postwar global competition: bringing the peoples of its spheres of interest into modernity, securing its interests in the new world order, and leading the new nations...

  11. CHAPTER 5 Antiquities of a Hashemite State in Mandatory Space
    (pp. 125-152)

    If antiquities and their narratives were important components of an ongoing colonial and nation-state competition, Abdullah bin al-Husayn, emir of Transjordan, engaged in it with the deck stacked against him. With leadership over the Holy Land periphery came the challenge to render it into its own core. In the first place, Emir Abdullah’s family had colluded with the British against the Ottomans, yet the Arabs were not ultimately united in a kingdom under Hashemite suzerainty, as had been the goal. Britain and France had divided the Arabs into states under their own rule, and Palestine had been promised as a...

  12. CHAPTER 6 Antiquity, Pan-National, and Nation-State Narratives in the Expanded Hashemite Kingdom
    (pp. 153-194)

    Petra was the great exception in a Jordan core containing little monumental antiquity. It fit within Western paradigms of universal value, but resounded for Arab and non-Arab audiences in different ways. For Petra’s locals, the landscape of the site had acute religious and personal meanings, many of which were related to seminal moments in the vast Abrahamic story. Early Western visitors saw both grandeur and lessons of the fall of civilization infused with religious and racial essentialism. Muslims and Arabs could also understand religious lessons in Petra and its nearby counterpart Mada’in Salih (in what is today Saudi Arabia), but...

  13. CHAPTER 7 Return to the Core
    (pp. 195-210)

    At the end of the archaeological galleries on the first floor of the new Jordan Museum, one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Copper Scroll, sits alone on display in its exhibit. Packed away in Amman when the 1967 war erupted, it met a fate different from that of the other scrolls. During the fraught 1950s, Jordan’s Council of Ministers had nationalized the contents of Jerusalem’s Palestine Archaeological Museum (PAM), where the scrolls were housed. In late 1966, mayor of Jordanian Jerusalem Anwar Khatib spearheaded efforts to nationalize the PAM, which had been left by means of its endowment in...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 211-252)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 253-270)
  16. Index
    (pp. 271-292)