Fig. 1 Reconstructed necklace of Jamila of Ba`ja (Late PNB, c. 7250-7000 BCE): Multi-lined necklace made of 2580+ beads, as displayed now in the new Petra Museum, Wadi Musa. (Photo: A. Costes, Ba`ja N.P.) 

Fig. 2 Formerly sub-floor burial chamber of Jamila of Ba`ja during the reconstruction and filming in the new Petra Museum, Wadi Musa. (Photo: M. Benz, Ba`ja N.P.)

Museum Works

The reconstruction of the necklace and of the grave construction of an 8-10-year-old-child, possibly a girl  (“Jamila”), was a 3-years project in the framework of CARE (Cultural Heritage, Archaeological Research, Restoration and Education) with the financial support of the German Research Foundation, the Franz-and-Eva-Rutzen Stiftung and private sponsors of ex oriente e.V., the EPO-Film (for filming) and the township of Emmendingen for the drawing of a life-scene. It included four main parts: 1) the TV-documentary by Barbara Puskás, 2) the consolidation of the beads and mother-of-pearl ring (Alices Costes, supervisor: Andrea Fischer, Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design) and scientific analyses and reconstruction of the ornament of the child (Hala Alarshi, CEPAM Nice), 3) the reconstruction of the grave with the original stone elements in the new Petra Museum (Hussein al-Sababha and Mousa Serbil) and 4) last but not least, the drawing of a life-scene in the village of Ba`ja by pupils of the secondary school in Germany for a digital information system. While the necklace was re-imported from Germany in conserved parts and re-assembled in the museum’s workshop, the reconstruction of the grave cist by its original parts demanded investment in further material tests to guarantee meeting the stability and museum-pragmatic demands.

The girl’s fragile skeleton remains and staining of the burial was not put on display in the grave chamber, and most likely will be inserted in the grave chamber by a 3D photo-based model. Preceding discussions on where to display these extraordinary finds in Jordan have correctly led to the understanding that the local reference of the Neolithic heritage must be preserved, and that the local communities must be given a chance of identification with the Neolithic part of their land’s history. For the necklace, thanks to the excellent cooperation of the PDTRA authorities and the suggestion of the Japanese colleagues of the JICA Project team an appropriate temporary solution was found. It was put on display in one of the existing showcases, until a single showcase will be provided that meets the conservational requirements of the fragile lime- and shell beads.