American Center of Oriental Research

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American Center of Oriental Research
TypeResearch Center
HeadquartersAmman, Jordan
Dr. Barbara A. Porter
Parent organization
Council of American Overseas Research Centers

The American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) is a private, not-for-profit academic institution, research library, and hostel. Located in Amman, Jordan ACOR promotes the study of the MENA region, with an emphasis on the archaeology of Jordan. The center is a member of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) and the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC).[1]


ACOR was created in 1968 as "The American Research Center in Amman", a permanent research center for Americans working or studying in the Arab World.

It was first directed by Rudolph H. Dornemann, followed by Murray B. Nicol. It became "The American Center of Oriental Research" in 1970.[2] One of ACOR's first projects was excavating a Byzantine church in Swafiyeh, Amman, by the director and annual professor Bastiaan Van Elderen in partnership with Jordan's Department of Antiquities, also serving as a training course for students attending the University of Jordan. From June 7–13, 1970, Van Elderen and various residents barricaded themselves in the ACOR residence during fighting between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Jordanian army. Murray Nicol was appointed new director in 1970 but was prevented from serving by the second phase of the war in Jordan, so Siegfried H. Horn replaced him at the urging of the U.S. Embassy in Amman, followed by Henry O. Thompson. In 1975 George Mendenhall was director, followed by James A. Sauer from 1976-1981.

In 1976 the building was remodeled, adding hostel accommodation for eight people and a 1,800-book library. In 1980 ACOR began partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and was awarded a contract to write a five-year plan for archaeological development. In 1982 David McCreery became director, and ACOR began to grant fellowships. ACOR moved to a purpose-built building in 1986, with partial funding from USAID's office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad and a ribbon-cutting ceremony by H.R.H. Prince Mohammed Bin Talal. In 1988 Bert de Vries took over as director, succeeded by Pierre Bikai in 1991 [2] and Barbara A. Porter in 2006.[3] Current longterm staff includes cook Mohammed Adawi, born around in the Palestinian village of Zakariyya, who has served as such for the duration of ACOR's existence [4] and Librarian Carmen (Humi) Ayoubi who has managed the library since 1988.[5]

As a member of ASOR, it has a strict policy of non-involvement in politics and follows their code of archaeological ethics.[2]

Notable ACOR Excavations[edit]

ACOR has led or been affiliated with many archaeological and restoration projects in the area, most notably: 'Ain Ghazal, Amman Citadel's Temple of Hercules, Ayla in Aqaba, Bab edh-Dhra, Hesban, Humeima, Khirbet Iskander, Madaba Archaeological Park Project, Pella, Petra Church Project, Petra Temple of the Winged Lions Cultural Resource Management, and Umm el-Jimal.

ACOR Photo Archive[edit]

In 2016 ACOR began a four-year project to digitize and preserve photographs of Jordan and surrounding areas. Photographs from six different private collections are part of the project donated by George Bass, Linda Jacobs, Rami Khouri, Robert Schick, Jane Taylor, and Charles Wilson. This project is available online at[6]

ACOR Fellowships[edit]

ACOR presents fellowships to students from Jordan, The United States, and other countries. They include: the NEH Fellowship, the ACOR-CAORC Post Graduate Fellowship, the ACOR-CAORC Pre-Doctorate Fellowship, the Jennifer C. Groot Memorial Fellowship, the Bert and Sally de Vries Fellowship, the Harrell Family Fellowship, the Pierre and Patricia Bikai Fellowship, the Burton MacDonald and Rosemarie Sampson Fellowship, the Kenneth W. Russell Fellowship, the James A. Sauer Fellowship, the Frederick-Wenger Memorial Endowment, the Jordanian Graduate Student Scholarship and the Jordanian Travel Scholarship for ASOR Annual Meeting. Scholars can also apply to the CAORC Multi-Country Fellowship Program and the Andrew. W. Mellon Mediterranean Regional Research Fellowship Program.[7]


  1. ^ Super User. ":: American Center of Oriental Research ::". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-11.
  2. ^ a b c ACOR: The First 25 Years: The American Center of Oriental Research: 1968-1993. Amman, Jordan: ACOR. 1993. pp. 9–83.
  3. ^ Porter, Barbara A. (Summer 2008). "Barbara Porter's Reflections" (PDF). ACOR Newsletter. 20.1. Retrieved March 11, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Porter, Barbara A. (Summer 2008). "Mohammed Adawi Remembers" (PDF). ACOR Newsletter. 20.1. Retrieved March 11, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Ayoubi, Humi (Summer 2008). "Reflections by Humi Ayoubi" (PDF). ACOR Newsletter. 20.1. Retrieved March 11, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Digital archive aims to preserve Jordan's past for future generations". Jordan Times. 2019-07-01. Retrieved 2019-07-08.
  7. ^ "2015-2016 ACOR Fellowships". Archived from the original on 2015-03-11. Retrieved 15 Mar 2015.

External links[edit]