The main objective of the HLC Project is to describe and understand functioning of human in the At-Tafileh region by conducting the possibly widest and most comprehensive research. For the purposes of the project, this region is understood as the territory bounded by Wadi al-Hasa to the north and Wadi al-Fidan to the south, with the western boundary marked by Wadi Araba and the eastern by a modern road known as the „Desert Highway”. This are also the boundaries of the modern At-Tafileh governorate. Since 2014 we are conducting reconnaissance and first excavations in this region. During this activities it became clear that the whole At-Tafileh region is marked by numerous historical sites that require attention, research, and promotion activities. Among these places one should particularly mention the rock stronghold of Sela, the capital of Edom – Buseirah, the ‘copper valley’ of Wadi Fidan with Neolithic and Bronze Age mines, or unique hills hiding ancient relics, such as Chirbat et-Tannur or Chirbat et-Darih. The region boasts of spectacular landscapes and attractions such as the Dana Nature Reserve or the water sources of the Hammamat Afra. During three seasons of survey our team also located several new and very interesting sites which deserve attention and require further research (e.g. the Qusa el-Hamra, Munqata’a etc.).
This region constitutes an important part of what in ancient times was called the land of Edom. It is rich in important cultural-historical monuments such as the ancient trail called „The King’s Way”, and preserved a range of traditions and elements of Arab culture, from traditional construction methods to pastoral habits etc.
The HLC Project is going to develop a broad regional analysis taking into account the archaeological and historical sources as well as environmental, geological and cultural, linguistic and ethnographic data. Therefore, particular stages of the project require the participation of specialists representing various fields. The project will also create guidelines to help protect and promote the heritage of the region. The local community will gain an important ally in promoting and developing the region.
It is worth mentioning that the region has attracted little attention from archaeologists so far and the results have not been published in comprehensive form. It is even hard to find a reliable tourist map or a detailed topographical plan of the region with important places marked. It is therefore necessary to start work in the region and make an attempt to prepare a comprehensive, modern documentation and analysis encompassing the issues of geology and, in the future, conservation and revitalization. We should also trace the history of environmental changes in the region.
The most important objective of the project is gathering as much information about the region as possible, using the integrated approach combining the broad spectrum of humanities methods with special tools of the natural and technical (especially computer) sciences. The application of the above-mentioned research methods will lead to answer crucial questions and allow us collect materials for development of scientific research work in following years.
The proposed research concept is based on the cooperation of specialists in the field of Near Eastern archeology, classical archeology, geology-hydrology, environmental-biological sciences along with those representing landscape architecture, linguistic research and cultural research. The project envisages the participation of students in the planned field works and post-excavation activities.
The main aim of the project is to identify within the above-mentioned range zones for potential prospection and documentation of natural and cultural heritage. This will allow for identifying the most unique features (including Genius Loci’s) and defining the potential factors of development for local communities, as well as determining subzones, which in future may become structurally connected to the system of the regional ECOMUSEUM, which may be the final goal, possible to achieve in the upcoming years.