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Photo collection spanning over four decades offers rare glimpse into archaelogical sites

By Saeb Rawashdeh - Aug 21,2019 - Last updated at Aug 21,2019

In this photograph from 1961-62, Nancy Lapp is seen sorting pottery at Iraq Al Amir (Photo courtesy of ACOR website)

AMMAN — Nancy Lapp, an American archaeologist born in 1930, kept detailed records of a photo collection from her trips to Palestine and Jordan starting back in 1957 with her late husband Paul Lapp.

Nancy Lapp recently donated approximately 2,500-3,000 35mm slides that belong to the Paul and Nancy Lapp collection to the American Centre of Oriental Research (ACOR) for research purposes, said archivist Rachael McGlensey in a recent interview with The Jordan Times.

McGlensey told The Jordan Times that the collection spans 45 years from 1957 until 2002 and is in both colour and black and white. “Luckily we know a lot about Nancy’s collection. Nancy kept detailed records of her photographs,” the archivist said.

The collection that follows the trips and research of Nancy and Paul Lapp includes all the necessary information about her photographs: the date they were taken, the site, and a description, McGlensey added.

“Additionally, it seems like Nancy and Paul Lapp visited nearly every archaeological site in Jordan. They have pictures at well-known sites like Jerash and Madaba, but also at lesser-known sites, such as Lejjun or Tell as-Sa’idiyeh,” she pointed out.

“The work on the Paul and Nancy Lapp collection has been a team effort between myself and my colleague, Eslam Dawodieh,” McGlensey continued.

“We already digitised 1,000 images and there are another 1,000 remaining,” Dawodieh said.

The oldest images pose the greatest challenge for digitising, McGlensey continued, adding that some of them  have turned quite dark with age.

”It’s hard to brighten those images while also keeping the colours nice-looking.” 

According to McGlensey, in some cases, the ACOR Photo Archive will present both the original scan and an improved version with an explanation of what they have done.

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