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Mark Driessen's Jordan fieldwork features in Photo Exhibition

The National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden features a small photo exhibition on Mark Driessen's fieldwork research project in Southern Jordan. In this small exhibition you will see a selection of nine photos, made in Udhruh. This ancient Jordanian settlement lies fifteen kilometres east of Petra, and played a significant role in the hinterland of the famous desert city.


The ancient settlement of Udhruh was founded by the Nabataeans, an Arab kingdom that extended to parts of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Syria. Udhruh gained an important role when the Romans built a legionary fort there that covered as much as five hectares. The fort grew into a town that remained inhabited for over 1,000 years. The Roman army disappeared and various other groups, cultures and beliefs appeared.

A green oasis

The Udhruh Archaeological Project is also trying to understand how the community managed to sustain itself on the edge of the desert. In a fifty km2-area, the researchers are mapping out ancient field and irrigation systems, communications networks with watchtowers, roads and quarries, all of which can still be studied well today. The water system of the time must have transformed this region in Petra’s hinterland into a green oasis.


The Udhruh Archaeological Project is funded by the Fondation Max van Berchem, the Dutch embassy in Amman (Jordan) and the Leiden University Fund. A range of partners from different universities and agencies are cooperating on the project. For more information, please visit the project website.

Visiting the exhibition

The photographs are on display behind the Egyptian temple in the entrance hall. No museum ticket is required. The exhibition runs from December 21, 2022, until April 9, 2023.

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