SpringerBriefs in Archaeological Heritage Management

Tourism and Archaeological Heritage Management at Petra

Driver to Development or Destruction?

Authors: Comer, Douglas C.

  • Evaluates effect of tourism on one of the world's most important archaeological heritage sites
  • Includes an introduction writtten by Henry Cleere, first President of the International Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM)
  • Recommends specific strategies to ensure that the archaeological site Petra is maintained and cultivated
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eBook $34.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-1481-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $49.95
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-1480-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

Once visited only by the cognoscenti of the ancient world, over the last decade Petra has drawn almost a million visitors in some years. Petra burst into popular consciousness with the release of enormously popular motion picture Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981. Moviegoers all over the world were introduced to some of the spectacular scenic wonders of Petra: the Siq, a narrow chasm with colorful, towering sandstone walls, and Al-Khazna, the exquisitely carved tomb for a Nabataean king.

For centuries, the Nabataeans controlled the trade in precious commodities across the Arabian Peninsula, bring spices from Southeast Asia, incense from present-day Yemen, gold and ivory from Africa, and silk from the Far East across the Empty Quarter to ports on the western Mediterranean.

In 1985, Petra was included on the list of World Heritage Sites. Since then, low cost jet travel and a fast highway from the capital city of Amman have made the site increasingly accessible. The Jordanian government has made attracting tourists to Jordan a top priority.

For all of the attention that Petra has received, it is still surprisingly poorly understood. A widely accepted chronology of the city, even the dates of major tombs and monuments, has yet to be established. Even the mystery of why and how Arab nomads adopted a sedentary lifestyle and built a great city has yet to be fully explained.

Will Petra’s popularity as a tourism destination overshadow the importance of addressing these questions, and, more importantly, will tourism damage the archaeological remains there in ways that make answers more difficult or even impossible to find?

About the authors

Douglas Comer has conducted archaeological heritage management projects around the world as Principal of Cultural Site Research and Management. He is Co-President of ICAHM. Dr. Comer is a specialist in the use of aerial and satellite images and GIS in archaeological research and resource management.

A former Fulbright scholar in Thailand in cultural resource management, he is the author of Ritual Ground: Bent's Old Fort, World Formation, and the Annexation of the Southwest (University of California Press, 1996), as well as many articles dealing with archaeological heritage management and remote sensing technologies.

Reviews

Although the authors focus on the negative impacts of tourism, they do so in the spirit of finding better ways to operate, as the situation is clearly urgent. In his conclusion, Douglas Comer uses the apt metaphor of a juggernaut that is out of control and destructive to summarize the frictions between preservation and profit based on mass tourism at Petra. Drawing on the threads laid out by each of the authors, Comer asks, what is the way forward? He focuses on the essential role of site management and calls on the World Heritage Committee to reform its procedures to restore the purpose of the World Heritage Convention and place a higher priority on preservation than on tourism.

Barbara J. Little

The Public Historian


Table of contents (9 chapters)

  • Petra as a Bellwether Archaeological Site on the World Heritage List

    Comer, Douglas C.

    Pages 3-28

  • Forty-Four Years of Management Plans in Petra

    Comer, Douglas C.

    Pages 31-76

  • Architecture and Deterioration in Petra: Issues, Trends, and Warnings

    Comer, Douglas

    Pages 79-104

  • The B‘doul and Umm Sayhoun: Culture, Geography, and Tourism

    Comer, Douglas

    Pages 105-118

  • Hydrology, Human Occupation, and Preservation on the Landscape of Petra

    Comer, Douglas C.

    Pages 119-129

Buy this book

eBook $34.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-1481-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $49.95
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-1480-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Tourism and Archaeological Heritage Management at Petra
Book Subtitle
Driver to Development or Destruction?
Authors
Series Title
SpringerBriefs in Archaeological Heritage Management
Copyright
2012
Publisher
Springer-Verlag New York
Copyright Holder
The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-4614-1481-0
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4614-1481-0
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4614-1480-3
Series ISSN
2192-5313
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVI, 187
Number of Illustrations and Tables
86 b/w illustrations, 11 illustrations in colour
Topics