Welcome to Faynan Heritage
This website is a store of information and celebration of the cultural heritage of Faynan, from the earliest times to the present day: a remarkable record of aspiration, innovation, and achievement, told through many spectacular archaeological and historic sites. It is also a practical guide for visiting Faynan’s archaeological sites and monuments, indicating where these can be found and what they represent.
It is not only about the past, but also the present. It has information about the spectacular but threatened bird life of Faynan, walking trails, and Faynan Heritage Home, a new small business owned and managed by the local Bedouin women.
Professor Steven Mithen, Department of Archaeology, University of Reading
There are hundreds of archaeological sites within Faynan, ranging from scatters of ancient stone tools to Roman forts and Islamic copper works. They tell Faynan’s story from its first inhabitants, at least half a million years ago, to the present day. This website illustrates a mere 30 of these sites and monuments, selected to represent the milestones in Faynan’s history.
The majority are easy to access by walking, while some are more difficult to find and will require a long hike. Walking trails with discrete placed information boards have recently been constructed. Even with this trails, one should always use a local guide, protect oneself from the sun, carry water and wear hiking boots. As a number of the sites lie within Dana Biosphbere Reserve, managed by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), access to those sites must be with a guide from Feynan Ecolodge or the RSCN. As well as always protecting nature, should you see any artefacts, such as pieces of pottery, metal or worked stone, please leave them on the ground and follow the advice: ‘Take only pictures; leave only footprints.’ If you want to report a find, take a picture, record the location and inform the museum.
Our knowledge about the archaeological sites and monuments featured has arisen from research supported by the British Institute at Amman for Archaeology and History (BIAAH), now the CBRL. Its Wadi Faynan Project was first conceived and initiated by former BIAAH directors, William Lancaster and Alison McQuitty in the early 1990s, under the kind patronage of HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan. However, the significance of the Faynan and associated areas has been known for at least a century, and the cumulative knowledge of many individuals and organisations is represented in this guide.
Further information is provided in the Faynan Museum. This has a scale model of the region and displays of the materials recovered by excavation.