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Geological conservation of natural and cultural heritage: the Italian experience in the ‘Siq’ of Petra

Delmonaco Giuseppe Dragà Gianfranco Cargnel Osvaldo Cesaro Giorgia
Articolo Immagine
GEAM N. 166/2022

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The Petra Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985, is characterized by a spectacular landscape but also by a great fragility fragile being prone to a diversity of natural risks (e.g. landslides, flash-floods, earthquakes) which can cause a potential danger to cultural heritage and visitors. The ‘Siq’, a natural canyon which constitutes the main entrance to the archaeological site, is among the most fragile areas of Petra due to its geological, geomorphological and geostructural characteristics. After the occurrence of rock falls occurred in the last decades, the UNESCO Amman Office in partnership with the Department of Antiquities of Jordan and the Petra Archaeological Park has therefore engaged in the ‘Siq Stability Programme, a multi-year project, funded by AICS – Italian Agency for Development Cooperation. The project, presently in the 4th Phase of the Programme is mainly aimed at the analysis, monitoring and landslide mitigation works in the Siq of Petra. The paper resumes main characteristics of the project design and slope consolidation works of large blocks recently implemented with the fundamental support of Italian alpine climbers. A special attention has been provided non only to the works technical component but overall to the complex aspects of the logistics, site safety and use of the ‘Siq’ by tourists during the implementation of the works. Finally, the consolidation works in the ‘Siq’ of Petra represent a unique and challenging experience undertaken in a UNESCO World Heritage site in terms of technicality, continuous and positive cooperation and involvement of the local authorities and community engagement in the light of sustainable management of the cultural and natural heritage of Petra.

Keywords: Rock slope consolidation, Risk Management, Petra Archaeological Park, UNESCO World Heritage site.