Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

The Qasr Bshir Conservation Project

The project aims to conserve and consolidate the entrance gate to the Roman Desert Frontier Fort Qasr Bshir.

2023 - 2026
Mark Driessen
Richard Beleson (San Francisco Ancient Numismatics Society) had offered a grant to cover the costs of the building inscription conservation.

Al Hussein Bin Talal University
Department of Antiquities of Jordan
Khammash Architects

His Royal Excellence Prince Hassan bin Talal is the patron of the Qasr Bshir Conservation Project.

Qasr Bshir: Past, present and future

Deep in the Jordanian desert lies the best-preserved Roman fort⁠. Qasr Bshir is also the only one with its original building inscription still in position⁠. Unfortunately, the inscription is cracked in two places making its entrance gate unstable and unsafe⁠. Serious deterioration of other aspects of the fort and its environs has been observed⁠. The first focus will be the conservation of Qasr Bshir's building inscription⁠. After that, we hope to move on to wider preservation issues at the fort. We will work in conjunction with the local farming and bedouin communities.

Social relevance

Qasr Bshir is an iconic monument which can contribute to Jordan's small-scale community-based tourism⁠. Its cultural and natural environment, including its antique water system, is also of vital importance for local farmers and bedouins⁠. Their involvement is pivotal for the sustainable success of the project⁠.

Scientific relevance

Qasr Bshir is the best preserved example of a fort of the former Roman empire. Its preservation and consolidation can be considered one of the Outstanding Universal Values for a future World Heritage Nomination⁠. The future 3D scanning of its surface and subsurface parts will be beneficial for our understanding of its construction and use⁠.

Material and methods

  • First phase: architectural analyses of the gate inscription lintel and its consolidation
  • Later phases: 3D scanning of the fort's surface and subsurface parts
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