Edoardo Borzatti von Löwenstern

The scientific researches conducted by the Italian missions in the Southern Jordan desert (1974 – 2011)

The researches organized and directed by myself in the Southern Jordan desert, in the centre of which is placed Wadi Ramm, start in the spring of 1974. The region, for it’s  geographical features, appears to be an important area because it is made up from very indented morphology: high mountains with deep valleys are present which allow stops or settlings to the Bedouins. In this area there are many water springs and the rocks are suitable for the making of the birqa, necessary for cattle breeding.

The region  in past was richer in rains and in plants. These features explain why the region is a centre different to the surrounding deserts:  to the West there is the Jordan river and to the East there are the Euphrates and Tigris rivers which have always been important for the life of the people and the States.

Until 1974 the studies and the explorations were not many and nothing was known of the region. None of the few researches realized that this area in past times could have been very important for human groups, both sedentary and nomadic people.

In order to point out the great importance which the area had in the past, I decided to involve in the researches some experts in many scientific subjects: their studies and possible discoveries integrated between each other could allow to gather many informations on the pre-historical and historical times and on the evolution of the climate and of other natural problems.

The Bedouin people which in those same years began to settle in Wadi Ramm, in Aed  Deesei, in At Tweisei, in Ael Mansheer, in Ael Ghaal, involved in developing tourism of the area, certainly more important economically than sheep-breeding, helped the Italian missions, the only to plan researches and to publish the results in exhibitions, in publications and in documentary films.

A reclaimed land from a previous Italian Jordan project of Cooperation for the development of an agricultural centre in the desert area, was finished not long ago: but the farm structures did not turn out to be successful for the Bedouin people. These structures began in a short time to decay: in the still intact huts the members of the Italian missions were lodged by the Jordan Ministry of Agriculture. The Jordan Ministry of Tourism provided for free the missions with a car and fuel for the researchers until the reclaimed land was sold to a private company. To continue the researchers’ work which in the Eighties attracted the interest of a constantly increasing tourism, the Al Zawaidah sheikh, Jleil Soudan Abu Kayed, with other sheiks of the area urged me to persevere in my work and presented me with one dunun of his land at Aed Deesei on which I could have the possibility to build an Italian base. Within 1993, with the Region Authority of Aqaba licence (Chairman Gen. Bassan Kakish), a big base was realized: the same Region Authority, in order to increase my  researches, presented  me with another dunun of land.

The base building marks two moments of the work in the desert: initially, to study the pre-historical, geological and botanical finds it was indispensable to bring them to Italy (with a licence of the Director of Jordan Department of Antiquities), afterwards  the finding were located within the Aed Deesei base: the scientific study was so made easier. In 1994 thanks to the Royal Palace we brought from Italy my two off-road vehicles and so the missions became totally self-sufficient.

Because the Italian missions hardly ever received any help from the Italian Government, in order to avoid unaffordable expenses and charges I decided not to make excavations for any  reason: the researches in all scientific fields have been made only on surface which often gave considerable difficulties in making some hypothesis.

However the great natural ad pre-historical treasure of the area allowed to attain results as much important as reliable also without applying a so-called invasive research. The valid experiences of the specialists and technicians who worked for a long time (about 40 years) eventually allowed the resolution of problems often hard or not yet well known and to come to unsuspected solutions. The teamwork trod mostly on the ground, beaten methodically has yielded interesting discoveries and a detailed knowledge of everything is present in the area.

Maps were made by specialists showing all prehistoric sites, rock paintings, unusual Bedouin buildings, place names of mountains and valleys of the area (in Italian, English and Arabic).

In the aim of exploiting the scientific activities and the new discoveries in this area, the Jordanian Government realized the building of a big Museum in Aed Deesei which is unfinished as yet. The important naturalistic and anthropological fortune of the land persuaded the Authorities to create a “Protected Area” around the Wadi Ramm.   

The main subjects broached by the Italian missions are:

Pre-history, Geology, Botany, Zoology, Ethnology, Anthropology. Other themes were broached also, but up to now are still in progress. In the aim of completing the researches the presence of specialists in medicinal plants and in their chemical analysis could be necessary. Moreover a specialist in Thamudic writing could be important to understand the many rock inscriptions (sometimes very ancient) of the area and to date them exactly: it could be possible to obtain from these some very important historical and ethnological information.  



CONTACT USContact.html
THE JOURNALJournal.html