Siq Stability – Sustainable Monitoring Techniques for Assessing Instability of Slopes in the Siq of Petra


The Siq is one of Petra’s most endangered areas, in which natural environmental risks pose a major threat to the cultural heritage and the visitors. Thus, systematic identification and monitoring of its potentially unstable areas is needed. The Jordanian government made a request in 2011 for assistance in this regard, and subsequently a rapid assessment of the Siq was carried out by UNESCO to identify the unstable blocks and map risk zones in the Siq.

Following the initial assessment, the Siq Stability project began in March 2012 in partnership with the Department of Antiquities, ISPRA (The Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research – Geological Survey of Italy), expert geologists, the Zamani Research Group (University of Cape Town), as well as the Petra National Trust (PNT) and Jordanian experts in the field of heritage documentation.

The main objectives of the project are:

  • Setting up an integrated and operational monitoring system using accurate and reliable techniques aimed at detecting potential unstable and at risks areas;
  • Developing guidelines for sustainable landslide mitigation and management;
  • Developing a new GIS common platform for the storing, analysis and management of data;
  • Production of a virtual tour and 3D model of the Siq and some selected structures, as well publication of a manual on landslide hazards and the results of the project;
  • Training of local authorities on the methods and techniques implemented during the project.

Since the project’s launch, laser scanning of the Siq, major monuments and landscapes along the core Petra area has been carried out. Upon the decision of the project’s technical committee, the monitoring equipment will be installed in the Siq by mid 2013, setting the basis for the monitoring of the selected unstable areas.

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