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Understanding and Preserving Early Islamic Jericho: Towards a Management Plan for the Site of Khirbet el-Mafjar (Palestine) (Jericho)
Start date: Aug 1, 2014, End date: Jul 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Khirbet al-Mafjar is the most outstanding and best preserved Umayyad palace in the Near East and represents the first steps in the development of early Islamic architecture. It was built by the Umayyad Caliphs in their pursuit of a new visual culture and a theatre for their protocol apparatus, reinforcing their political identity, while establishing an instrument for territorial control in the making of the newly established Caliphate. It stands nowadays as an essential component of the Palestinian identity, and a basic landmark of their Cultural Heritage.The main objective of the project is to conduct interdisciplinary research on this complex, assessing its present condition and reviewing previous research, in order to draft a Management Plan which will guarantee its preservation and public enjoyment. The project involves researching how Cultural Heritage can become an engine of socio-economic development, a tool to reinforce the cultural identity of the local population and in the establishment of intercommunity dialogue that might help in the resolution of the current conflict.The fragmentary character of previous research was due mainly to approaches applied, as well as to political vicissitudes related to its location. This proposal intends to make an important step forward by building up an analytical strategy based on the methodological principles of Archaeology of Architecture, using the monument as a document, a stratified repository of material and social information about its transformation and change of use, gathering all sources of information into interdisciplinary interpretative models. This integration of archaeological, technological and historical research of the built heritage with its preservation and management provides the chance of finding in the material culture sources of historical and technological information which offer simultaneously the choice to understand its History and to provide technical knowledge required for its preservation.
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