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Archaeologist in Jordan uncovers secrets of Shoback castle's fall


Italian Archaeologist Guido Vannini, from the University of Florence has set up to help mediate cultures of the past and mediate between European culture and the southern region of the Mediterranean.

Archaeologist in Jordan uncovers secrets of Shoback castle's fall
Shobak Castle – the first castle to be built by the Crusaders near Jordan's Petra
[Credit: Longhorns and Camels]
He is working on a project in the vicinity of the rock engraved southern city Petra, near a town of Shoback, with the famous Islamic Castle that witnessed ups and downs of Islamic powers as they descended into an endless state of cultural decline.

Vannini, who started leading the mission in Jordan's Medieval Petra from 1986, deals with archaeology of Crusader-Ayyubid settlement in Transjordan circa 12-13th centuries.

The study was able to show how mediaeval origins represent a significant part of Jordanian cultural roots, the archaeologist said, noting that the operational practices and objectives of the team actually cover an entire historical region of Jordan, he told the Jordan Times.

"The reconstruction of an unsuspected Crusader settlement system [the classic feudal 'incastellamento'] of the entire Petra Valley, focused on the pivotal castles of Wu'ayra and Al Habis, but not only," Vannini said, noting that in Shobak, researchers discovered structures of the princely palace of Crac de Montréal, established by Baldwin I (1098-1100), which was based on a monumental fortified settlement from the Romano-Byzantine Limes Arabicus.

"The 'discovery' of a new, unexpected, refined Islamic town, Shobak [which thus came to be part of the refounded Islamic empire by Saladin] rose to the rank of the regional capital in Ayyubid and early Mamluk age [between the end of 12th and of 14th centuries]," Vannini elaborated, adding "an authentic production structure that could be defined as 'industrial' [textiles, soap, sugar] was also discovered in the area outside the castle" he said.

"The mission's new goal is now to investigate the problem of the 'disappearance' of this rich, important city that flourished at least until the end of the 14th century," the Italian researcher underlined, voicing his interest to study and date forms and epoch of its radical crisis and Shobak's regression to a village, as it could represent a concrete case of the eclipse and the crisis of the late mediaeval Arab society, up to the Ottoman hegemony.

According to Vannini, archaeologists working in the Near East are a kind of cultural mediators between the cultures of the past and those of the present, and, at the same time, mediators between European culture and that of their host countries.

"We must recognise that Jordan occupies - in this perspective - an advanced position also due to its solid network of international academic collaborations and to the prestige of its institutions," Vannini was quoted as saying.

Source: ANSAmed [July 30, 2018]

TANN

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