Research & Publications

Ammar Khammash is well established in Jordan and internationally for his knowledge in Jordan's cultural and natural heritage. He is an expert in local building techniques and traditions; has extensive knowledge in the geology of Jordan and its natural features; and is one of the few architects who are interested in medicinal plants and using them as a viable tool in the socio-economic development. This section includes research and publications by Khammash on numerous topics including design, architecture, environment, paleontology and geology from 1986 till present.

Desert Oysters

Al Hisa is a small town on the desert highway about half the way between Amman and Aqaba. The modern town has nothing to offer for visitors, as its traditional houses were completely replaced by “contemporary” concrete buildings, completely lacking any planning or charm. ...more


Along all the borders between Jordan and its neighboring countries, nowhere do you find villages on both sides that are more in amazing proximity than the area of northern Jordan and the Syrian Houran. While the Yarmouk gorge separates Jordan from Syria towards the west, the landscape becomes continuous in the east ...more

Azure Lizard

"Badia" or "Eastern Desert" are terms usually given in general to flat parts of Jordan that lie east of the Hijaz Railroad. But the word "desert" is a misnomer in many cases, as there are a number of locations within this wide expanse of land that have a surprising vegetation cover. ...more

Jabal Thallaja

An escarpment jutting out of the heavens, hanging like a balcony above Wadi Rum, the mountain range extending from Ras Al Naqab hides within its dramatic folds secrets from remote and strange times. Within a few minutes after leaving the Aqaba highway, and past the transmission tower to the east, a pure landscape, not yet scarred by road projects, engulfs you with and air of tranquility and ease. ...more

Blue Globe

On sturdy stems in metallic copper-brown, with dispersed, dissected, long leaves, the perfect spheres appear as works of modern sculpture or jewelry. The strict symmetry of each globe gives this plant an appearance away from the rest of the plant kingdom and closer to the geometry of space and perfect mathematics. ...more

Time Halt

It was not until the Renaissance, in the 15th century, that the west began the tradition of giving architectural works a personal signature. While this deliberate celebration of individual creativity has became the norm since then, the Nabataean tradition in Arabia had been following the practice for 2000 years. ...more

Hunting Meteorites

At low gear, the 4x4 was moving at the speed of lazy walk. I opened the door of the car to be able to look down as the cracked mud passed smoothly under the wheels. Like stepping down from a low-flying-carpet, I left the car to keep on driving itself, as for miles in all directions there is nothing that the car can hit. ...more

On the Green Line

The village of Hmoud sits in a relaxed posture on the western side of a small ravine. Sloping gently eastward, this village occupies the edge of a vast wheat plateau that stretches with its red soil towards the west till it falls suddenly into rugged landscape overlooking the Dead Sea. ...more

Fires of Freekeh

There were few cars and a tractor. Further away from the main road, a strange event was taking place. Before arriving to the spot, you could see a cloud of smoke about the size of a big house, with an occasional figure emerging and disappearing again in the midst of the sweet-smelling smoke. There were twenty-five or thirty professional freekeh-burners ...more

Black on Black

Black is beautiful. Nature has been very stringent in using black on flowers. It is strange to see black in bloom, but when it occurs, the result is of utmost elegance. The Black Iris, Jordan’s national flower, has adapted to a landscape of ample sun. It has evolved in a harsh environment, wind-blown, to acquire a unique color matching the black eyes of remote shepherds. ...more

Petra in Iron and Manganese

Petra represents a wonderful site where geology and archeology beautifully coexist. To better understand the monuments of Petra, one should pay some attention to the geology of the site, and attempt to understand the qualities of stone the site has given to the Nabataean carvers. It can be assumed that the sandstone layers in Petra were the leading factor behind the choice of this location ...more

The Architecture of Geology

The villages of Shobak have a special feeling of tidiness; their modern houses are neatly painted and usually completed. This feature makes Shobak a soothing contrast to the usual “modern” Jordanian village that often looks like an open-ended, uncoordinated construction site. ...more