History of the British Institute

The first British field base for visiting scholars to Jordan was established in 1975. It was founded by Crystal Bennett and located in a house overlooking the main gates of the University of Jordan in Amman. In 1978, it was registered as a UK academic charity under the name of the "British Institute at Amman for Archaeology and History" (BIAAH) and was approved as a sponsored overseas research institute by the British Academy. The first director, Crystal Bennett (1978-83) was engaged in archaeological excavations at the Amman Citadel as well as the completions of her investigations of Edomite sites in southern Jordan, notably, Buseirah and Tawilan. Andrew Garrard became director between 1983-89 conducting extensive survey and excavations at Epipaleolithic and Neolithic sites in the Azraq Basin of eastern Jordan. He was succeeded by Alison McQuitty in 1989-91 whilst she completed her excavations (with Jeremy Johns) of the medieval village of Khirbet Faris near Kerak. Between 1991-94, the Institute came under the directorship of William Lancaster who was involved in anthropological research on bedouin pastoralist communities in eastern Jordan. In 1991, he moved the Institute to a new larger building in Jubaiha. Between 1994-99, Alison McQuitty returned to become the director again and to continue her work on medieval and Ottoman Jordan. In 1998, following a review by the British Academy, the Institute became incorporated into the "Council for British Research in the Levant" (CBRL) supporting research in the full spectrum of the humanities and social sciences. Bill Finlayson took up the directorship in 1999 and in 2003 moved the Institute to its present larger location in Tla' Al-Ali, where it became known as the "British Institute in Amman". Bill Finlayson's research was focused on the excavation of early Neolithic sites at Dhra (with Ian Kuijt) and continues at Wadi Faynan (with Steven Mithen) in the Dead Sea region and the southern rift valley.

Previous directors: