Development of the Nabulsi Community Center (DNCC)
Sela for Vocational Training and Protection of Cultural Heritage launched in March 2018 the DNCC Training Program under the scientific supervision of Andrews University, Berrien Springs – Michigan.
The on-the-job training program is held at the Nabulsi Complex at Tell Hisban.
Participants will be involved in the documentation, cleaning and conservation of the 19th century Nabulsi complex, which the Nabulsi family made available for the community.
Participants will contribute to development of the Nabulsi Community Center (master plan) whose primary purpose is to showcase the history of Hisban, as a paradigm of the history of Jordan, and to develop a community-based resilience education program to improve water and food security in ways that also helps protect and preserve local environmental and cultural heritage.
The first phase is implemented by Sela for vocational training and Protection of Cultural Heritage as a training program open to members of the host community, to national and international students and to professionals who want to contribute at building a more sustainable future for the host community and its heritage.
At Hisban the archaeological team from Andrews University has pioneered an explicitly social engagement approach that has involved investment of time and energy in sharing forces and visions with the local stakeholders and the villagers keeping them abreast of major discoveries and efforts to narrate the history of the site.
Therefore participants work in close cooperation with the local stakeholders and authorities and with the host communities in a widely variegated and international environment that will facilitate cultural exchanges.
Brief project history
Since 1996 the Hisban Cultural Heritage Project, under the directorship of Dr. Oystein S. LaBianca, Professor of Anthropology and Associate Director of the Institute of Archaeology at Andrews University, together with Dr. Bethany Walker, Professor at the Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg at the University of Bonn and Co-director for Archaeological Excavations, and M.Arch. Elena Maria Ronza, Co-director for Community Archaeology and local coordinator of the Jordan Field School, have pioneered efforts among the community of practice to partner with the host communities as a means to secure a sustainable future for the local cultural heritage in the region where they work. Their strategy has been to bypass the conflicted issue of the site’s religious heritage, focusing instead on its global past by drawing attention to the story of resilience and survival attested in the deep-time history of the local food system. This focus has brought to light lessons about past practices for harvesting rainwater; about economic uses of herbs in the past; and about past practices of cooperating for the sake of local food and livelihood security. The development of the Nabulsi Community Center seeks to further develop this narrative–and to share the experience as a model for other projects.
The partnership between the archaeological team that excavates at Tall Hisban and the local village goes back fifty years (2018 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the project) and now spans three generations. There is thus a foundation of trust and understanding on which to build and move forward with the endeavors envisioned in the present project.