Harmen’s current PhD research project, entitled “ Life and Death in a Pastoralist Landscape”, investigates the archaeological landscape of the Jebel Qurma region, situated in the Black Desert of northeast Jordan. Between roughly 200 BC and 800 AD, this region was visited by highly mobile communities. Harmen challenges the notion that life in the desert during this period mainly revolved around the economic practice of mobile pastoralism. Instead, his research aims to provide a more comprehensive view of its past inhabitants, including their social, economic, and ideological components. It investigates, in addition to pastoral nomadism, a wide array of human and non-human movements, and how mobile practices were not only a product, but also constitutive of the landscape and of the way it was inhabited. A wide range of data sets is used in this research, including data from airborne remote sensing, surface surveys, and excavations carried out in the Jebel Qurma region.
Harmen Huigens studied Near Eastern archaeology at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, where he obtained his Research MA degree in 2014. He has been involved in the research project at Tell Sabi Abyad, Syria, from 2008 to 2010, and in the Jebel Qurma project, Jordan, since 2011. He has done fieldwork in the Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Oman.
Harmen is one of three PhD candidates within the NWO-sponsored research project “ Landscapes of Survival: Pastoralist Societies, Rock Art and Literacy in Jordan’s Black Desert, c. 1000 BC to 500 AD”, which started at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, in 2014.