Amman (Jordan): Archaeologists and workers carry out excavation at a Roman archaeological site discovered during works to install a water drainage system.—Reuters
Amman (Jordan): Archaeologists and workers carry out excavation at a Roman archaeological site discovered during works to install a water drainage system.—Reuters

AMMAN: The discovery of the ruins of old Roman baths during the construction of a major drainage system in the heart of Jordan’s capital has posed a dilemma: how to preserve the country’s ancient past while providing for its modern future?

A government committee set up two weeks ago is expected to decide soon on whether to expand excavations at the site or go ahead with an underground canal that would divert flood water that descends on Amman from the surrounding hills.

Remnants of furnaces are a sign of an elaborate heating system which archaeologists believe is the first such discovery among the remains of the ancient city of Philadelphia on which Amman was built.

“We will balance the needs of the city — to protect it from flooding — to preserving antiquities under the streets,” said Yazid Elayan, head of Jordan’s Department of Antiquities.

“Amman was one of the biggest Roman cities and it has one of the largest baths ... Wherever one excavates in Amman, antiquities can be found,” he said.

The work on the drainage system has been suspended while the decision is made.

Amman is an old city where many symbols of Roman civilisation are still visible, from the Amphitheatre that seated 6,000 spectators to the Nymphaeum fountains and the Hercules temple on one of Amman’s highest hills.

Worsening infrastructure and haphazard urban planning have plagued the sprawling city of four million people built on layers of ancient civilisations spanning the Ammonites, Moabites, Romans, Greeks and the Islamic period.

Municipality officials have already expressed concern that delaying the drainage project could raise water levels in central Amman and again flood it during the winter.

Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2020

Opinion

Zero carbon race
22 Jan 2021

Zero carbon race

Over 100 countries, including Pakistan, have failed to submit their national commitments to cut emissions.
Sports for all
22 Jan 2021

Sports for all

We need a certain level of fitness to observe God’s law.
Normalcy restored
Updated 22 Jan 2021

Normalcy restored

So long as invoking domestic and foreign ‘enemies’ is our ‘normal’, expect our tryst with praetorianism to continue unabated.
The hazards of governance
Updated 21 Jan 2021

The hazards of governance

The most efficient administrations derive their strength from the quality and regularity of intra-department consultation.

Editorial

Updated 22 Jan 2021

Time to heal

A multitude of foreign issues will test Biden’s mettle and require progressive thinking.
22 Jan 2021

Foreign funding

AS the pressure builds on his party in the foreign funding case, Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for an ...
22 Jan 2021

Decaying PTV

THE Cabinet Committee on State-Owned Enterprises has decided to remove Pakistan Television from the list of...
Updated 21 Jan 2021

Agosta kickbacks trial

A POLITICALLY significant trial opened in Paris yesterday. Former French prime minister Edouard Balladur is in the...
Updated 21 Jan 2021

Indian media scandal

Common sense, factual reporting and ethics are all chucked out the window in the maddening race for ratings, influence and power.
21 Jan 2021

Rising food prices

FOOD inflation continues to challenge the resolve of the government to control the prices of essential kitchen items...