Talal Akasheh has devoted much of his life to conserving the World Heritage Site at Petra in Jordan from the ravages of erosion, time and tourism.
Among the world’s fabled lost cities, Petra stands as a beacon of human achievement ─ one, though, that is slowly being destroyed by weathering, chemical disintegration and other natural and human forces that are dissolving this ancient wonder and its many sandstone monuments.
It is our duty to maintain links with our past and to understand it as a means to safeguard our future.
To combat the degradation, former chemistry professor Talal Akasheh is completing a knowledge system that will underpin the city’s conservation and hopefully extend its existence. This geographic information system provides managers of the archaeological park with the essential knowledge they need to care for and restore the site, demonstrating the use of science and technology in the service of sustainable tourism. In 2014, Akasheh reported that his database included almost 3,000 archaeological features, and, in 2015 he and his colleagues completed a conservation plan for the whole site at Petra, which he hopes to publish as a book. In a UNESCO project, Akasheh has completed, over a period of three years, the monitoring of the stability of rocks in the Siq, the main entrance to the ancient city, creating 3D images of the rocks.
Age, in years, of Petra
Archaeological features reported in Akasheh’s database in 2014