Talal Akasheh

2008 Laureate, Cultural Heritage
Jordan, Born 1947


Project Goal

Help conserve ancient Petra from the ravages of time and tourism

Location: Jordan

The beauty of 2,500-year-old Petra captivated Talal Akasheh from the first time he saw the city in 1982. Since then, the Jordanian chemist has devoted nearly 30 years to cataloguing the site for its future conservation.

After visiting Petra — home of his ancestors — for the first time in 1982, Jordanian chemist Talal Akasheh was surprised by the beauty of the site, but equally appalled at the damage that time and the elements had wrought on the extraordinary monuments.

Akasheh (born in 1947), a professor of physical chemistry at Jordan’s Hashemite University, has dedicated nearly three decades to protecting Petra from further deterioration. The GIS database system he developed to document all aspects of the site earned him a Rolex Award in 2008.

With the Award funding, he is expanding the database to include more features and monuments.

As a next step, Akasheh will complete a website as a tool for the Jordanian authorities, who can better manage the site, and academicians interested in Petra. He also intends to create a 3D documentation method as well as a non-destructive technique to study the salt content of the weathered monuments.

In His Own Words

Other 2008 Laureates