ABOUT OUR COLLECTIONS
The American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) in Amman, Jordan, is a non‑profit, 501(c)(3) academic institution dedicated to promoting research and publication in the humanities and social sciences, with a particular focus on issues related to Jordan and the broader region.
The ACOR Library holds a remarkable photographic archive related to its role in preserving and promoting the country’s heritage. The complete collection, estimated to number more than 100,000 images, provides primary visual documentation of Jordan, including the major archaeological and cultural heritage projects that the center has sponsored across the country over the decades.
Given its broad range of content and subject matter, the ACOR Library photographic archive has the potential to be a crucial resource for American, international, and Jordanian scholars involved in cultural and natural heritage preservation and management.
As a first step in making this extensive archival collection available to researchers, the ACOR Library is cataloging, digitizing, and making accessible online ACOR’s major institutional and donated photographic holdings.
The ACOR Research Library Photographic Archive Project is made possible under a Fiscal Year 2016 American Overseas Research Centers grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
Use ACOR Photo Archive Images:
Request to use images
Read more about our archive policies:
ACOR Library Photographic Archive Notice and Takedown policy
Jane Taylor collection
Jane Taylor, a published author famous for her photographs of Petra, donated a collection of over 7,000 photographs to ACOR in 2015. Jane Taylor’s collection captures pivotal moments during the last 30 years in the Arab region and Asia, featuring subjects spanning cultural heritage to social history. In addition to extensive coverage of Jordan (including many aerial shots), the collection includes photography from Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, and Syria. Taylor’s collection also includes her work with UNICEF in the aftermath of the Gulf War in the 1990s.
Read more: Jane Taylor collection Finding Aid.
Rami Khouri collection
Rami Khouri is an Arab American journalist, editor, and political commentator. Khouri served as editor-in-chief of Jordan’s English-language daily, The Jordan Times, from 1975 to 1982 and again from 1987. Khouri was the first director and is now a Senior Fellow of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI), and he is a professor at the American University of Beirut. The Rami Khouri collection features many archaeological and cultural heritage sites, as well as photo-journalistic documentation of daily life and events in the region from the 1970s to the early 2000s. Khouri’s collection includes 35mm slides, negatives and photographic prints, VHS and beta video cassettes, and printed materials.
Read more: Rami Khouri collection Finding Aid.
George Bass collection
George Bass is known to many in the archaeological world as the founding father of nautical archaeology. He was the director of the first archaeological expedition to entirely excavate an ancient shipwreck (Cape Gelydonia, 1960) and he also founded the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) in 1973. The George Bass collection at ACOR includes photos from Jordan, the West Bank, Lebanon, and Syria, offering rare insight into famous heritage sites over half a century ago, as well as the impressions and escapades of Bass as a young man travelling through the region, shared through his letters.
Paul and Nancy Lapp began their archaeological training together in Palestine in 1957 and remained in the region until 1968, living and working at the American School of Oriental Research (ASOR) in Jerusalem. After Paul’s death in 1970, Nancy Lapp dedicated herself to publishing their numerous excavation reports. Nancy Lapp is Curator Emerita of the Kelso Museum of Near Eastern Archaeology in Pittsburgh and a Trustee Emerita of the ACOR Board of Trustees. The Paul and Nancy Lapp collection is comprised of c.2,500 35mm slides taken between 1957-2002 and includes photographs of excavations throughout Jordan as well as images from their extensive travels in the region.
The Charles Wilson collection was donated to ACOR by Jane Taylor. The collection is made up of a series of print photographs taken between 1944-45 when Wilson was purchasing provisions for the British army. The photographs show agricultural processes, the transportation of wheat and straw by handcart and camel, and Jordan’s famous heritage sites including Petra’s monastery and royal tombs and Amman’s Roman Theater.
Linda K. Jacobs, published author and archaeologist, donated a photograph collection to ACOR which includes images of cultural heritage sites from the 1980s, now threatened by the unstable political situation. Jacobs spent a year living in Jordan working on an archaeological dig. Jacobs’ collection includes photographs from both Syria and Jordan.
Dr. Robert Schick is an archaeologist and a historian of the Byzantine and Islamic periods with a special interest in the city of Jerusalem during the Islamic periods. He has worked on excavation projects in Jordan for many years. Schick is currently preparing the final report of an archaeological excavation from 1992-1993 of a Byzantine-Early Islamic building (the Burnt Palace) in Madaba. Robert Schick donated a small collection of 35mm slide photographs of archaeological sites in Jordan to ACOR in 2018.
Bert de Vries was ACOR’s Director from 1988-1991 and is now Director Emeritus. The Bert de Vries photo collection consists of 840 images from the 1980s and 90s. Bert’s long term project in Jordan has been at Umm el-Jimal in North Jordan, a site he first visited in 1968, later excavated in the 70s and 80s and still works with today. Umm el-Jimal is the spectacularly preserved ruin of a Late Antique (Byzantine, Umayyad, and early Abbasid) basalt town in the Hauran of northern Jordan. There are still 150 buildings at Umm el-Jimal, made from basalt blocks which were recycled from the ruins of earlier Nabataean and Roman structures. As Bert says, ‘as Petra is “rose red”, Umm el-Jimal is “all in black”. The Bert de Vries collection will be available online in December 2019.
This collection, donated by the family of the late archaeologist and Petra expert Kenneth Russell (d. 1992), provides a specialist’s view of the broad range of archaeological sites and features found in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Petra and surrounding regions. It also features a large number of photographs taken at important archaeological and natural sites in Jordan and neighboring countries, including Palestine, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Iran. Read also about the Kenneth W. Russel Memorial Fellowship at ACOR. The Kenneth W. Russel collection will be made available online soon.