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December 2, 2008updated Feb 07, 2013

Rolex Supports Archaeological Project

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Luxury watchmaker Rolex has awarded Jordanian chemist Talal Akesheh $100,000 to support the development of a centralized knowledge system (a Geo-Archaeological Information System, or GIS) that will help preserve the Petra archaeological sites in Jordan. Akasheh is, for the first time, integrating data gathered by archaeologists, geologists, hydrologists, chemists, engineers, architects, and planners to reveal the changing physical characteristics of the site and the surrounding modern developments. Among the first goals of Akasheh and his team: understanding the flash floods that ravage the site and possibly restoring the 2,000-year-old Nabataean drainage system; using radar technology to survey the surrounding terrain for hidden tombs; and using X-ray fluoroscopy to study the weathering of the monuments and identify those in most urgent need of conservation.

Th GIS has already yielded a wonderfully detailed tourist map, which will allow virtual visits to the city from anywhere on earth, although nothing compares to visiting Petra in person.

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